Six months after Oklahoman residents voted on the legalization of medical marijuana, a flood of positive results have become evident. Since August when they first passed the bill, 60,000 patient applications received an approval for the use of medical marijuana. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority heads this department, and it has witnessed quite the success story for a state of only 3.943 million people.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana License in Oklahoma
First, the patient will have to apply through application. After they have applied and received approval from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, they will have to pay $100 to receive the license. Based on State Question 788, patients must be over the age of 18 to apply, and they need a note from their doctor.
Shift in Public Opinion on Medical Marijuana
Oklahoma lists as a deeply red state. Considering how the right historically never supported the legalization of marijuana, the fact that voters at public polls in the midterm primaries agreed to legalize medical marijuana shows that the opinions of marijuana could be transitioning to a potential for recreational legalization in the future. With the approval of medical marijuana, Oklahoma now becomes the 30th state in the nation to approve medical marijuana access on a broad scale. As of right now, you have a total of 33 states to approve it.
The only states where medical marijuana remains prohibited include South Dakota, Idaho and Nebraska. Everywhere else has become okay with it on some level even if the state still limits the THC content. Surprisingly, unlike Texas, Oklahoma doesn’t choose to limit the THC content.
How The Medical Marijuana Bill Has Been Passed
You still have some fair limitations with the medical marijuana bill. For example, employees aren’t allowed to possess or use medical marijuana while at school or during the school hours, even if they have a medical marijuana license. A student who has the license may use and access medical marijuana according to the restrictions granted to them.
While school personnel cannot legally administer the drug to students, schools will offer a private location where the caregiver can administer it to the students at the school. The caregiver will be held responsible for administering the drug, and they will also have a responsibility to remove it from the premises after consumption takes place. Any students or employees found in violation of this law could face disciplinary measures.
Other Limitations on Medical Marijuana
The original bill that first got signed into effect on March 12, 2019, had many restrictions around it. As a deeply red state, that was to be expected, but they did start to loosen the grip on some of these measures. Still, you do have some limitations that you may want to be aware of with this law.
Based on the the bill, those working in safety-sensitive environments won’t be allowed to consume medical marijuana while on the job. Under the bill’s written definition, a safety-sensitive work environment includes:
- Working with hazardous materials
- Working with pharmaceuticals
- Carrying firearms
- Operation of motor vehicles or heavy equipment
- Repairs or maintenance where the person could cause serious injury if the vehicle gets improperly repaired
- Working with flammable or volatile materials
Keep in mind, this list is by no means comprehensive, but if you can imagine a job where safety is critical, you don’t want someone working on something while they’re under the influence. That seems like common sense.
How Does the Medical Marijuana Law Classify “Under the Influence”?
For workers who enter the workplace while under the influence, employers could take adverse action against them even in non-safety-sensitive environments. The bill doesn’t give a clear definition of what, “Under the Influence of Medical Marijuana” means. Based on the Oklahoma Drug and Alcohol Testing Act, employers have a list of the potential circumstances where they have “for-cause” testing.
This Act will also provide employers with some level of guidance for observations to show that the employee was under the influence. They can run a checklist to ensure that everything checks out.
Some Things Remain Illegal under SQ788
You have a couple of things that still remain illegal to medical marijuana patients even under SQ788. As a medical marijuana patient, you should remain aware of these things because of how it could have a big impact on you. You don’t want to cross paths with the law. For example, because the federal government still lists marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, doctors can’t legally prescribe this.
They would classify as “aiding and abetting a patient” if they were to help them obtain marijuana. Because of this, patients can’t discuss marijuana strains, dosages or a specific marijuana product to treat an ailment because it is seen as illegal. Doctors will also fill out a form to show that the risks of medical marijuana were discussed before they undertook the treatment.
Patients should also remain aware that they cannot transport their medication across state lines. While you can use your card to purchase in other states, you can’t bring anything back to Oklahoma with you. In addition, you can’t travel to a state where it has been legalized, such as California and bring it back to Oklahoma with you. That still classifies as illegal.
In addition, wherever tobacco has been prohibited, you can also consider medical marijuana as prohibited. This protects those who don’t want to inhale the smoke or deal with the smoke. Be aware that after you have obtained your medical marijuana license, you can’t give away your marijuana to other people under SQ788. You can’t even give it away to other patients under SQ788.
As a licensed patient, you may be allowed to grow it on your own property, but you can’t grow it outdoors. If you do grow it outdoors, you will first need to have your plants surrounded by a six-foot fence so that others don’t see it. The fence must also remain under lock and key for it remain legal. For all crop yields that exceed eight ounces, it will classify as illegal. You will need to either process the crop or destroy it. Patients are allowed to process edibles and concentrates on their own, but they can’t perform extractions with butane.
Based on SQ788, you can’t try the product before you buy it. The law leaves no room on this. As a patient, you shouldn’t expect a sample like what you might have been able to get with CBD shops.
Finally, you have to be aware of rules from your landlord. Patients can’t smoke on a property where it has been deemed prohibited. Even with your Oklahoma medical marijuana card, SQ788 still prohibits this. Any rule that prohibits smoking will mean that you can’t smoke on the property. Still, a landlord can’t restrict you growing plants on the property if you have a medical marijuana license. If they wish to include a clause, however, that prohibits the growth of plants, they can stipulate the limitation.
In some cases, you may be allowed to smoke in certain places like out on the balcony or on the patio. This depends on what the landlord has placed in the clause. Instead of fighting it out with the landlord, however, you might explore some of your options for where you might be allowed to smoke cannabis. This can prevent a lot of misunderstandings and fights from cropping up.
Understanding the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Policy
You should understand the policy in Oklahoma as much as possible. While revisions have been made to the law to make usage easier, the policy has also stated how if federal funds get jeopardized, the stance on marijuana used medically could change in a heartbeat. If the federal funding gets jeopardized, a cease and desist implementation of the policy will come into effect almost immediately.
The Taxes Placed on Medical Marijuana
As stated before, you will first have to pay $100 for the application fee. After you have paid $100, you will be eligible for the use of it. When you go to the vendors to buy it, however, a seven percent retail tax will be applied to the sales of all marijuana used medically. First, they will put the funding from the taxes towards the implementation and the regulation of medical cannabis. After they have taken the taxes from that, the remainder will be directed towards, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and education.
One of the things that we have to remember with medical cannabis in Oklahoma is that the laws could change in a fast hurry. We have to remain aware of that. If this deeply red state finds that it inconveniences them to keep this policy on, they have retained the right to change the policy at any time. Changes could also go in the direction of the positive. For example, republican Governor Mary Fallin said last week that she felt prepared to call on state legislature into a special legislative session where they would recreational marijuana for the Sooner State. Governor Fallin has said that she respects the will of the voters, and if they want to legalize it at the recreational level, voters would have her approval.
In a deeply red state, you can expect some level of opposition to medicinal marijuana. Even Fallin received some backlash for her willingness to legalize recreational marijuana. Some of the vocal opponents to it included Oklahoma Senator James Lankford who even appeared in a TV advertisement urging voters not to approve medicinal marijuana. You have other groups ardently opposed to medicinal marijuana and recreational marijuana. The groups in staunch opposition to it include:
- Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association
- Oklahoma State Medical Association
- Oklahoma State District Attorneys’ Association
While you have some indication of support for medicinal and recreational marijuana, you still have some staunch critics of it who will continue to campaign against it. You have an additional challenge that some voters have faced. For example, the voters in some communities talked about how they were given ballots that didn’t even include the medical marijuana question.
Indications of a Shift
One of the most noteworthy indications of a shift in public opinion comes from the fact that legislation passed this measure in a strongly red state during a primary election. During that season, the voter turnout tends to be those who are older and more conservative than at the general elections. The fact that this passed even during a primary election shows that public policy and opinion on medical marijuana and marijuana in general could be shifting towards the potential for recreational legalization.
It shows us that support for approval exists at all ends of the spectrum, and it spans the political and demographic possibilities.
The History of Medical Cannabis in the Sooner State
As soon as 2016, legislature attempted to pass a bill for medicinal marijuana, but because of a dispute on the ballots over the title of it, they didn’t settle it in time for it to make it on the ballot in 2016. That could be one of the reasons that they didn’t approve it even sooner.
When Governor Fallin placed the measure on the bill in the June 26th primary, many supporters of medicinal marijuana saw this as an effort to sink its chances. When the bill surprisingly passed, Governor Fallin changed her own public policy on it because she saw how many people were in favor of legalization at least at the medicinal level.
Lack of Comprehensive Programs
Like several other states around the country, Oklahoma lacks favorable medicinal marijuana programs. They’ve already passed a law where it restricts access to non-psychoactive cannabis extracts. That’s a big choice because of how this could have a negative impact on those who have seizures and other problems.
Who Qualifies for Medicinal Cannabis?
Oklahoma laws differ from other states with medicinal marijuana because they don’t set any qualifying conditions for the use of this drug. Instead, the law states that they will hand this out according to accepted standards and based on what a reasonable and prudent doctor might prescribe. Before anyone can receive approval for the use of medicinal marijuana, they will first have to get the signed approval from a doctor. In addition, all applicants must be over the age of 18 if they will qualify for it.
Nevertheless, the state has agreed to accept those under the age of 18 who have received the approval and signatures from two state-licensed doctors. They will also need their parent or legal guardian to sign off on it.
When approval has even come from a state that has deep republican influence, it hows us how the support for medical marijuana and even recreational marijuana could soon be changing. We could soon see an increased level of support for it. Understanding some of the laws surrounding it, however, can help you to stay within the legal bounds of the law to ensure that you don’t overstep your boundaries when it comes to these laws.