What You Need To Know About SQ788
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Politics and Activism

What every Oklahoman should know about State Question 788

"So, what, weed's just legal now?" Well, not exactly.

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marijuana

So for my out of state friends and my Oklahomies who've been living under a rock the past several weeks, we've recently had an election. We voted to appoint candidates to various positions of state, namely Governor, Lt. Governor, and a few county judges, but the big damn deal that came with this election for a lot of people was State Question 788.

SQ788, in short, was a piece of legislature posed to the voters asking whether medical marijuana should be legalized and managed by the state and whether possession should be decriminalized. The evening of Tuesday, June 26, the measure passed with 56.84 percent of Oklahomans voting "yes" to the measure.

Whether you're for marijuana or against it, there's been a lot of misinformation going around about the new laws that will regulate the possession and distribution now that it's a not a question of criminality. Those for it may have some misconceptions and those against it may have spread around some false info either knowingly or in ignorance. I'd like to clear up the main misconceptions and possibly answer a few questions that I know I had before writing this.

Let's clear up one major thing: SQ788 legalizes medical marijuana.

Oklahomans won't just be rocking up to the QT, showing their ID, and buying a pack of joints on the way home to the wife. Special licenses will have to be acquired from an Oklahoma Board certified physician, and purchases can only be made from licensed dispensaries (which, by the way, must be at least 1000 ft from any school).

Now, opponents of the bill have argued that the bill is effectively legalizing recreational marijuana because part of it stipulates that the examinee isn't required to have any certain qualifying conditions. Unlike several other states which have passed medical marijuana, it's simply at the discretion of your physician whether you need to be prescribed. Patients must be over 18, but patients under 18 can be approved with two doctor's signatures and a parent's signature.

Those approved for a license will be charged $100 dollars or $20 if they're on Medicaid, Medicare, or Sooner Care. The license will then be good for two years. A licensed user is allowed to carry three ounces on their person and possess another 72 ounces at home with the addition of 1 ounce of concentrated oil or wax. Moreover, the possession of six mature marijuana plants as well as six seedlings is permitted.

The law effectively decriminalizes marijuana as well, saying that work places are not allowed to discriminate against medical users who test for it. Workers are not, however, allowed to possess, smoke, or already be under the influence of marijuana while on the job, so the oldsters worried about Pothead Pat working the wrecking ball with a fat blunt hanging out of the side of his mouth can lay that fear to rest.

Furthermore, even non-licensed carriers can expect much lighter penalties for being found in the act of use or possession. Where originally one could be fined up to $1,000 and face up to a year in jail for possessing any amount, there is now no jail time to be served and fines are limited to a maximum of $400 for possessing up to one and half ounces, provided said person claims to use it for a medical purpose.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it, it's medical, it's more relaxed, but a lot of people, myself included, wanted to know—when's this thing supposed to go into effect?

Having passed, the measure is meant to go into effect 30 days after election day. That is to say medical marijuana and the laws pertaining to it will go into effect on the 26th of July, 2018. Some dispensaries have already started taking applications and making appointments with future patients.

Lastly, in spite of some speculation from state political writers and paranoid potheads all over my newsfeed, Mary Fallin, having conferred with the State Legislature, has agreed that there is no need to hold an extra session to deliberate on the implementation of the provisions for the law. Any emergency situations will be dealt with by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

As a proponent of legal, responsible marijuana use for those in need or want of it, I'm happy to see a measure like this passing.

We're a state that has a hard time letting go of old ways, which in some cases means a respect for tradition and culture, and other times means a fear of progress. However, I don't think there's much to fear.

As well as giving an alternative to patients who don't do as well with prescription medication for chronic suffering, the legal sale of marijuana will allow for a new source of state revenue as well as bring an end to unjust incarcerations regarding the substance. The studies have shown that there is more good to the plant than bad when used responsibly, but even those that have perhaps used it in excess don't seem too much worse for the wear. I mean, hell, just look at Tommy Chong:


Tommy Chong at home, Nearly 80 years OldChris Carlson/AP

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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