Oklahoma group close to signature goal for recreational marijuana petition

OKLAHOMA CITY – Following a controversial decision by the state’s Board of Health, it seems a petition to legalize recreational marijuana is picking up steam.

On Tuesday, the Board of Health approved emergency rules on medical marijuana, with two specific exceptions.

Under the new emergency rules, smokable forms of medical marijuana would be banned from sale in dispensaries. According to Interim Health Commissioner Tom Bates, licensed medical marijuana users would still be allowed to use it if it was grown themselves.

“To allow smokable forms would be a step back as protectors of public health in Oklahoma and certainly reasonable people can differ on that,” Commissioner Bates said.

However, medical marijuana advocates say they are gearing up for a fight.

Already, two lawsuits have been filed against the new

“The issue here is medical marijuana, and that’s fantastic, but the overall issue is the problem with our government in Oklahoma and their exercising of authority that they don’t have and their failure to listen to the people,” explained attorney Rachel Bussett.

According to Bussett, there were several missteps in the agency’s rule-making process. The lawsuit alleges the Open Meetings Act was violated, because the agency did not publish proposed amendments before the Board of Health took them to a vote.

In the meantime, 'Green the Vote' is collecting signatures on State Question 797.

State Question 797 would allow anyone over the age of 21 to legally possess, use, grow, process and sell marijuana. It would also allow marijuana to be classified as an herbal drug, which would be regulated by the Oklahoma Cannabis Commission.

In order to have a chance to get the question on the November ballot, the group says it needs to collect 124,000 signatures of registered Oklahoma voters.

'Green the Vote' announced on Sunday that it has already collected 104,372 signatures on the petition.

They say they hope to take all of the signatures to the Capitol on Aug. 8.