Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Law Will be Loosest Measure Yet
Opponents argue it's no different than recreational legalization
Voters in Oklahoma will go to the polls on June 26, 2018, to decide whether or not to legalize medical marijuana. The proposed law is unique in that, unlike the other 30 states with similar laws, there would be no list of qualifying conditions that patients must meet in order to buy medical cannabis. 
The issue will go before voters as a result of a petition containing 67,801 signatures that was presented to state officials in August 2016.
Medical marijuana advocates are hopeful that the measure will pass, but critics say that Oklahoma State Question 788 essentially means cannabis will be used for recreational purposes.
Dr. Kevin Taubman, immediate past-president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association and chairman of an opposition group called “SQ 788 is NOT Medical,” said:
“I think this has been left so liberally open that it’s so transparent that this is a recreational shell bill.
I have a strong opposition to legislation that disguises itself as good health policy, when in reality it in no way mirrors anything that is truly medical therapeutics.”
Chip Paul, spokesman for the pro-medical marijuana group Oklahomans for Health, rejects the notion that OKSQ 788 is a slick way to usher in legal recreational weed.
He explained that the proposal does not include a list of qualifying conditions because there has been so much debate in other states over which conditions should be on the list.
In fact, in many states with medical marijuana laws, only a few qualifying conditions are included at first, but more get added later on. Legislatures are constantly having to consider amendments to their state’s bill, according to Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
OKSQ 788 would leave it up to medical professionals to determine what is best for patients.
“Nobody knows what the right list is here, so let’s not restrict it. Let’s put this tool in the hands of the physicians.”
Paul argues that Oklahoma’s medical cannabis law would be more restrictive than others, since physicians’ reputations would be on the line. Chances are, reputable doctors won’t sign off on nonsense conditions that marijuana can’t touch.
“Here, he is staking his reputation. He is staking his professional credibility.”
On the other hand, there is always a chance that doctors will refuse to recommend marijuana to their patients specifically to protect their reputation, or will only make recommendations under rare circumstances.
However, opponents point out that Oklahoma’s opioid epidemic was fueled by unscrupulous doctors who wrote painkiller prescriptions to treat just about anything. The fear is, the same thing could happen with medical marijuana if OKSQ 788 is approved.
Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.