A religious group called Oklahoma Faith Leaders and U.S. Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma have come out in opposition to State Question 788, a medical marijuana initiative that will go before Oklahoma’s voters on June 26.

In a joint statement quoted by various sources, the Senator and the religious group claim that “This state question is being sold to Oklahomans as a compassionate medical marijuana bill by outside groups that actually want access to recreational marijuana.” “Most of us have seen first-hand the damage done to families and our communities from recreational marijuana use.” The statement also claims that passage of State Question 788 “would be harmful to the social fabric of Oklahoma.”

In a video post that appears on the Oklahoma Faith Leaders’ Facebook page, Senator Lankford said that marijuana “is an addictive drug,” and that it “impairs your thinking ability.” The senator has “no issues with” CBD, which is legal in Oklahoma, and suggests that there may be medical use for marijuana-based medicines, but he draws the line at smoking, pointing out that federal agencies and the American Medical Association hold that “there is no medical purpose in smoking marijuana.”

Recreational disguised as medical

In the video, he states his opposition to State Question 788 is not so much based on a belief that there can be no medical use for marijuana but that the initiative makes medical marijuana too easy to obtain. He says the initiative “is being worded as a medical marijuana question, but it is the only medical marijuana question in the entire country that just leaves open” the matter of what ailments may be cited as reason for a recommendation. “It’s a recreational marijuana vote being couched as a medical marijuana vote,” he says.

Proponents of Question 788 were quick to challenge some of the statements made by the senator and the religious group. News reports mention Jed Green, who is the director of a group called ‘Yes on 788’. He cites Genesis 1:29: “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” He goes on to say, “So our question is, given that the ministry of Jesus Christ centered on healing the sick, without precondition, how would Jesus vote?” He went on to point out that Oklahomans, not outsiders, are the primary financial supporters of his organization, and that medical marijuana is frequently not smoked. Further, he claims that under Oklahoma law, if Question 788 passes, the legislature may address concerns about recommendations being handed out too freely.

Strong support among voters

A state poll reports that the initiative has the support of roughly 57 percent of voters, with nearly 30 percent in opposition. Under the provisions of the initiative, patients would pay $100 for a license or $25 if qualified for a reduced rate. Patients could possesses three ounces on their person, and they would be allowed to cultivate cannabis at home. The initiative also has provisions for the creation of a regulatory structure and business licenses for dispensaries. Sales taxes would pay for the regulation.

What do you think: Will Question 788 pass? Leave a comment below.

About the Author: Eric Howard

Eric Howard, who lives in Los Angeles, is a staff writer for Marijuana and the Law. His most recent book, Taliban Beach Party, appeared in 2017.

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