State Sen. Constance Johnson has filed separate bills to establish a medical marijuana program in Oklahoma and to reduce the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
S.B. 902 directs the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to develop and adopt rules that allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use marijuana with approval from their physicians and to establish fees for the “licensing, production, distribution, and consumption” of marijuana for medical purposes.
S.B. 914 would reduce the maximum penalty for possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana from a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of $1,000 to a maximum of 10 days in jail and a fine of $200.
“There is a vast amount of evidence demonstrating the medical benefits of marijuana for individuals suffering from certain debilitating conditions,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization. “If a doctor believes their patient can alleviate his or her pain and suffering by using marijuana, that patient should be able to do so without the fear of arrest. It is irrational to throw an adult in jail for up to a year simply for possessing a product that is objectively less harmful than alcohol. “It is inhumane to do it when that individual is seriously ill and using marijuana to improve his or her quality of life.”
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. At least ten more states are expected to consider similar legislation this year, and such bills have already been brought forward in Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and New York.