Oklahoma activists have withdrawn their petition to legalize cannabis in the state due to concerns that broad legalization could have a negative impact on the state’s medical cannabis industry and the patients it serves, the Journal Record reports. Michelle Tilley, a spokesperson for the group, said they plan on rewriting the petition to include stronger medical cannabis protections and resubmitting it to officials.
Chip Paul, of Oklahomans for Health, who crafted and pushed for the 2018 voter-approved medical cannabis measure, said the legalization bill would have damaged the state’s nascent medical cannabis program.
“We’ve rolled out the most successful medical marijuana program in the country, bar none. Why in the world, in its infancy, would we mess with that? … Every state that has passed recreational has wrecked medical.” – Paul, to the Journal Record.
Oklahoma currently has more than 220,000 patients – about 5 percent of the state’s population – and officials have issued 1,500 dispensary licenses since the measure’s approval last year, the report says. In all, medical cannabis sales in the state are expected to top $350 million this year.
The adult-use petition would have allowed adults to possess up to one ounce and grow six plants while imposing a 15 percent tax on sales, along with local and state taxes. Tilley said that the group wants to be “crystal-clear” that medical cannabis patients and businesses “will not be harmed or hurt” by legalization so the organization decided to craft a new petition that would include those protections.
An attempt to get legalization on 2018 Oklahoma ballots failed after activists failed to gather enough signatures by the deadline.