An Oklahoma lawmaker who couldn't get an interim legislative study last fall on the benefits of medical marijuana has filed two measures to ease the state's tough marijuana laws.
Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Forest Park, has filed separate bills to establish a medical marijuana program in Oklahoma and to reduce the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
Senate Bill 902 would direct the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to develop and adopt rules that allow people with debilitating medical conditions to use marijuana with approval from their physicians and to establish fees for the “licensing, production, distribution and consumption” of marijuana for medical purposes.
SB 914 would reduce the maximum penalty for possessing up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana from a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of $1,000 to a maximum of 10 days in jail and a fine of $200.
It's uncertain if the bills will get a committee hearing in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Johnson last year sought in interim study on medical marijuana, but the chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee declined her request. Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, said his decision not to allow the study was based on the Oklahoma Constitution and the U.S. Constitution, saying he didn't know how to proceed with the legalization of medical marijuana as long as the federal law says the legalization of medical marijuana is against the law.
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, which supports changing state marijuana laws, 18 states and the District of Columbia allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. At least 10 more states are expected to consider similar legislation this year.