Will Oklahoma become number 30? Voters take to the ballot box June 26th for State Question 788 – and will decide whether to legalize medical marijuana. But the campaign has not been without controversy.

Considerable effort has been put forth to oppose SQ 788. Although the purpose of the bill is to legalize the medical variety, groups such as the Oklahoma Medical Association, believe it is really just promoting recreational marijuana through the disguise of medical marijuana. Additional groups have voiced their concerns too.

The End of Drug-Free Workplaces

Some companies are concerned about anti-discrimination language in the bill, that might prevent them from legally remaining drug-free environments. A pro-SQ 788 group, Oklahomans for Health, doesn’t think the bill prevents businesses from continuing as they desire. Another proponent group, Yes on SQ788, also sides with Oklahomans for Health in their interpretation of the bill’s workplace rules. And New Health Solutions Oklahoma, another proponent of the bill hopes its base will grow beyond its current 30 members if the state approves legalization.

But a number of companies operating in the state fear that they will now have greater difficulty finding employees who can pass a drug test. Oklahoma businesses can require employees to take a drug test following a workplace accident that causes injury or property damage, whenever they choose. The passing of SQ 788 could drastically change this. And the lack of qualifying conditions to apply for a medical card could mean more subjective ailments. And what might be the legal ramifications be if employees cause an accident when at work when impaired?

Reduction in Medical Marijuana ID Card Fraud?

A key aspect of SQ 788 is that Oklahoma’s approach to legalization is different than other states who have passed bills. Presently, within the U.S., specific medical conditions determine eligibility for medical marijuana identification cards. But in Oklahoma, the determining factor will be the physicians. This means that doctors are the ones who make the final determination.

The reason for this design? Oklahoma sees the potential for abuse. And physician recommendations could mean less cards given out, but with more of a system like regular prescriptions. In the case of Oklahoma, instead of visiting the pharmacy, you would fill your prescription at a dispensary.

Cannabis Commission Could Soon be OK’d

The Oklahoma legislature has initially passed through committee, SB 1120 and HB 3468. Each of these bills deals with regulating cannabis use and sale and creating the Oklahoma Cannabis Commission. These bills could help tie up loose legal ends. But bill proponents fear too much legislature meddling.

SB 1120 sets the conditions for when medical marijuana can be prescribed. And HB 3468 activates an independent commission if marijuana is legalized. Either way, groups want more clarity on the provisions within SQ 788.

Modifications and Compromises

Medical Marijuana advocates say they are willing to compromise on certain aspects of SQ 788. If the bill passes, workplace issues could be modified, as well as other concerns could be ironed out. Oklahomans for Health won’t compromise on labeling certain conditions for medical marijuana card eligibility, nor do they wish to take steps that would encourage the industry to become monopolized. Many questions and concerns remain unanswered as Oklahomans – on both sides of the debate – get closer to the ballot box.

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