Tag Archives: Medical Marijuana

Oklahomans for Health Files Ballot Initiative for Medical Marijuana

Chris Benge, Oklahoma Secretary of State
Chris Benge, Oklahoma Secretary of State

Today, Oklahomans for Health submitted an application for petition with Oklahoma Secretary of State, Chris Benge, which proposes to add a question to the November ballot asking whether or not Oklahomans should legalize medical marijuana for serious conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

The initiative would call for the reclassification of marijuana as an herbal drug, which would be regulated by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. It would also create licensing and regulatory rules for cultivation and distribution through dispensaries. Patients wanting to use medical marijuana would need to pay a $125 application fee for a medical marijuana card and have an Oklahoma board-certified physician provide a recommendation.

The proposed initiative comes at a time when support for medical marijuana is growing in the state with a recent poll showing 71% approval rate for decriminalizing medical marijuana. A rally was held at the State Capital in February, where parents of epileptic children came to talk to their representatives. Even Josh Stanley of Strains of Hope, featured on WEEDS by Sanjay Gupta, showed up to support Oklahomans in their plight.

Although Oklahoma has some of the harshest marijuana laws, Chip Paul, Chairman of Oklahomans for Health, believes the “language in this initiative…should be a very easy thing for the state of Oklahoma to manage.”

Study Finds Legalization of Medical Marijuana Does Not Increase Crime, May Decrease Violent Crime

The 18-year-old question as to whether or not legalizing medical downwardmarijuana causes an increase in crime seems to be answered in a recent study by a team of researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas this week. The results did not indicate a “crime exacerbating effect” of medical marijuana on any of the Part I offenses, which (according to the FBI) include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft.

Alternatively, states with medical marijuana laws showed a reduction in homicide and assault rates. This is congruent to other studies by The National Academy of Sciences that found THC — the active ingredient in pot — actually causes a decrease in “aggressive and violent behavior” in chronic marijuana users.

“The findings on the relationship between violence and marijuana use are mixed and much of the evidence points toward reductions in violent behavior for those who smoke marijuana,” Robert Morris, the study’s lead author, said in a recent interview with the Huffington Post. “In fact, researchers have suggested that any increase in criminality resulting from marijuana use may be explained by its illegality, rather than from the substance itself.”

These findings run counter to arguments that suggest making marijuana legal for medical purposes poses a danger to public health, in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes.

Kentucky Medical Marijuana Bill to Be Considered by House Committee

The Kentucky House Health and Welfare Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing Thursday at 12:00 p.m. ET on a bill that would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), and HIV/AIDS to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

Mary-Lou-Marzian
Rep. Mary Lou Marzian

HB 350, known as the Cannabis Compassion Act, introduced on February 10 by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D-Louisville), a registered nurse, was the first effective medical marijuana bill ever introduced in the Kentucky House of Representatives. It would allow licensed patients and caregivers to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana. It would also establish safety compliance facilities and permit one medical marijuana compassion center for every 100,000 state residents. Sen. Perry Clark (D-Louisville) introduced a similar measure, SB 43, earlier this year.

Nearly 80% of Kentucky adults think people with serious illnesses should be allowed to access and use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctors recommend it, according to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll released in May 2013.

Florida Medical Marijuana Initiative Makes the Ballot!

Monday brought welcoming news to seriously ill patients in Florida: The Florida Supreme Court declared the medical marijuana constitutional initiative fit for November’s ballot! If passed, this initiative will allow individuals with debilitating conditions to use marijuana if their doctor recommends it. Since this initiative would amend the state’s constitution, it needs 60% support to pass. Please make sure you are registered to vote now, so that your voice will count come November.

Last week, the state confirmed that the campaign, United for Care, had submitted enough valid signatures to make the ballot. The only hurdle left before officially making the ballot was surviving the legal challenge brought by Attorney General Pam Bondi. Bondi argued the summary of the measure (which was written by its proponents) didn’t accurately explain what the initiative would do. She also claimed the measure violated Florida’s requirement that ballot questions be limited to a single subject. The Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, disagreed.

The Florida Legislature has refused to act on the numerous medical marijuana proposals brought before it by medical marijuana champions. This November, you have the opportunity to bypass the legislature by voting “yes” on medical marijuana, but only if you’re registered to vote. Finally, please be sure to spread the word to your friends and family in Florida.