A vote which would have made medical marijuana legal in Oklahoma did not push through due to an insufficient number of signatures. The Oklahomans for Health organization based in Tulsa required 155,216 signatures in order to be able to place the medical marijuana initiative up for voting in the general election ballot scheduled on November 4, 2014. The main problem was that only 75,384 signatures were counted in the validation proceedings which took place on August 21, 2014.
One of the organizers of the petition, Chip Paul, said that the insufficient number of signatures was not all that surprising, even though the signatures were delivered to the Secretary of State a day before the deadline. According to Paul, several thousand signatures delivered to the office were not submitted because they did not conform to the format required by the state for such documents. Paul also said that because of this, the signatures would have probably been invalidated anyway when they were counted.
Although the petition failed to make it to the vote, Paul expressed optimism that the initiative would be presented for voting in the future. For Paul, the fact that volunteers were able to gather 50% of the signatures required for the vote to push through was encouraging.
Other proponents of the measure were also optimistic that the election to legalize medical marijuana, already legal in 23 states, would eventually take place. After the validation process, the organizers of the initiative petition announced plans to put forth a ballot proposition next year. Paul for his part announced that Oklahomans for Health was already seeking out sources of funds for a new petition campaign to be launched in August of 2015.
The organizers of the current petition are campaigning for the classification of marijuana as an herbal drug that would fall under regulation by Department of Health office in Oklahoma. If the measure is passed, doctors would be given the legal authority to prescribe cannabis for a wide array of illnesses and medical conditions. Sales of medical marijuana would also be levied a 7% tax, with revenues generated from medical marijuana sales used in the operation of the state marijuana regulatory office.
The campaign for the initiative petition came to a close only days after Governor Mary Fallin–who is a an opponent of medical marijuana legalization–appealed to Oklahoma lawmakers to support cannabidiol legalization instead. Governor Fallin shares the sentiment of many of those against the legalization of medical marijuana, some of who feel that cannabidiol is a better alternative. Fallin, who is intending to campaign for re-election in November 2014, previously won out over two gubernatorial candidates in the GOP primary held on June 24, 2014. Both Fallin’s opponents had made medical marijuana legalization a key point of their election campaigns.
Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive oil obtained from the cannabis plant. Studies have shown that the oil, which is intended to be taken rather than smoked, can be an effective treatment remedy for patients suffering from certain seizure-related conditions and strokes.