A measure that would have helped ease the pain and suffering of thousands of Oklahomans by providing them access to alternative medicine was killed Monday in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Senate Bill 710 would have legalized the use of medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor in the state. The bill’s author, Sen. Constance N. Johnson has been advocating for this issue for the past seven years and was pleased that it was finally given a hearing by the committee.

“Getting a hearing on this issue was a victory in itself. Like so many controversial issues throughout history, it takes many legislators a long time to see the positive benefits of certain measures like Senate Bill 710,” said Johnson, D-Oklahoma County. “Now we can further develop the game plan by which to continue advocacy and education on this issue. With Senate Bill 710, the goal is simply to give Oklahomans who are suffering with debilitating diseases and their doctors the right to decide what the best approach is to easing their suffering. Present options such as oxycotin and other pharmaceutical options are at best ineffective and at worst deadly,” said Johnson. “As the Legislature, our efforts should be aimed at ensuring access to effective medicine to keep people from further suffering. To do otherwise is inhumane and heartbreaking.”