Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana after voters approved State Question 788 on Tuesday. The measure was leading 56-44 with 85 percent of precincts reporting when the New York Times called the election. According to StateImpact Oklahoma, The Oklahoma State Department of Health has already begun drafting rules for a Medical Marijuana Control Program.
“The passage of State Question 788 highlights the strength and diversity of public support for laws allowing the medical use of marijuana,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Oklahomans agree that patients should be able to access medical marijuana safely and legally if their doctors recommend it. It is noteworthy that this measure passed in such a red state during a primary election when voter turnout tends to be older and more conservative than during a general election.”
MPP said that State Question 788 is the fourth medical marijuana initiative in a row to win in a state that went for Donald Trump, and that number could grow to as many as six by the end of the year. They were approved in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota in 2016, and they will appear on ballots in Missouri and Utah this November.
O’Keefe added, “We are pleased to see state officials are already working on developing a regulatory framework for medical marijuana, and we hope they will include patients, advocates, and other stakeholders in the process. It is important that patients have reliable access to the products that work best for their conditions. Oklahoma officials can learn a lot from the successes and shortcomings of other states’ programs, and hopefully, they will create a system that will serve as an example for other states in the region.”
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) said that there was a strong and well-funded effort from opponents to the referendum in the months before the vote.
“In spite of a well-financed and misleading opposition campaign, Oklahoma voters proved that medical cannabis is no longer a controversial issue by enacting a sensible law at the ballot box tonight,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the NCIA. “We applaud Oklahoma for joining the growing list of states that allow patients to legally access the medicine that works for them.”