Oklahoma may finally OK medical marijuana and patients may have access a year or so earlier than expected, if Representative Eric Proctor (D-Tulsa) gets his bill passed before voters get to decide on State Question 788.
The big difference is the breadth of ailments covered - critics of the new bill complain that the scope is too narrow, covering only a handful of ailments.
Rep. Proctor says his bill comes on the heels of some of his constituents became medical marijuana refugees, to other cannabis-legal states, in order to get the medicine they needed. Meanwhile, Oklahomans for Health, which OKNews reports is backed a petition drive to get the measure on the ballot, is suing Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt over his rewrite of the ballot title.
House Bill 1877 would allow medical marijuana for the following list of conditions: Glaucoma, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Tourette’s syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe arthritis, fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The bill is modeled after Arkansas' medical marijuana measure, which passed in 2016.
“Arkansas is a state that is very similar to Oklahoma, and this will give us the opportunity to see what works there and also see what doesn’t work,” Rep. Proctor tells NewsOK.
It's still up for negotiation where most of the new revenue would go, but health and education seem to be most likely to receive the new revenue.
His bill speeds up access to medical marijuana by a year or two, over State Question 788, a pending state question on the subject.
State Question 788 which would allow OK medical marijuana funnels more than half of the new revenue for cannabis to an education fund and state rehabilitation programs.
Oklahoman for Health does not support Proctor's bill because it would limit medical marijuana use to patients with a handful of ailments, William Jones tells NewsOK, he's one of the leaders of the group.