The Oklahoma ballot in late 2018 will have a State Question to move forward with legal medical marijuana to become the 30th state to legalize. In light of the growing popularity of medical marijuana throughout the country and also the amount of revenue states are generating, it is hard to say to be an opponent anymore.
One by one, states across the nation have been passing new marijuana laws in recent years.
Currently, 29 states in the U.S. allow the use of medical marijuana. By November 2018, Oklahoma could be the 30th.
State Question 788, the Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, will be on the ballot as a state statute in November 2018. The initiative would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, including the construction of dispensaries, commercial growers and processors.
The use and sales of marijuana was first banned in the states by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. The Act was eventually replaced years later by the Controlled Substances Act in the 1970s. In 1996, marijuana began making its comeback when California became the first state to approve its use for medical purposes.
Not every state has been as quick to reestablish the substance, typically because of conflicting opinions about its effect on humans’ everyday lives.
Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, is one of individuals not in favor of legalization, and he has his reasons.
“Being a 36-year educator, I haven’t seen any real positive results of marijuana use, so I’m not much in favor of legalizing marijuana for any reason,” he said. “I think it causes, a lot of times, people to be lackadaisical, and also there’s some research that there are some problems with possible brain damage.”
For years, studies and experts have claimed the use of marijuana can hamper the development of adolescents’ brains. However, conflicting studies have been published indicating that daily marijuana use is not associated with brain issues in adolescents or adults.
“The societal benefits, the patient’s benefits, far outweigh any sort of scare tactics that the opposition might be using,” said William Jones, board member of Oklahomans for Health, the organization leading the initiative’s campaign. “I think a lot of that just falls on misconception of medical marijuana.”