“Our focus is to focus on the people who are sick,” Debate continues over medical marijuana in Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY - In June, Oklahoma voters will head to the polls to vote on State Question 788.

Right now, there's debate at the State Capitol to see if the ballot initiative has enough support from voters.

"If the voters want it, God be with them," said August Rivera with Oklahomans Against 788.

The question is whether Oklahoma should join 30 other states in allowing medical marijuana.

One group is telling voters to vote no.

"We feel that this is a bad policy and that it would negatively impact Oklahoma," said Rivera.

State Question 788 says a person 18 years and older would need to apply with the doctor's signature. Applications would then go the State Department of Health. If approved, a patient would paid $100 for the license.

At this time, there are no qualifying conditions and it would be taxed at 7 percent for all marijuana sales.

"I can assure you that it will not fix Oklahoma's budget or financial problems," Rivera said.

Rivera says the plan would do nothing for the state's economy because of its population size, as well as the income to sustain it.

"I think this is just some elitist wanting to smoke pot, get high and make a buck at the expense of the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized," Rivera said.

Others said the push for medical marijuana is what the state needs.

"Our focus is to focus on the people who are sick, the people who are 92 years old, who are veterans, who are addicted to opioids," said Michael Patterson.

Patterson is the CEO of US Cannabis Pharmaceutical, he has traveled state-to-state pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana.

"Our goal is to get examples of what has worked in other states and to be able to speak from a red state," Patterson said.

Patterson also said the goal is for medical marijuana to produce its own revenue stream, and hopefully help put an end to opioid abuse.

"This plant has never killed anybody in human history, so I think we need to start looking at a plant that's never killed anybody, that has demonstrated safe and effective," Patterson said.

Senator Ervin Yen has introduced bill that would require medical marijuana for serious health conditions. The bill has so far passed a Senate committee.

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