Senator seeks relaxed pot laws
A legislator who couldn't get an interim 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 $1,000 fine to a maximum of 10 days in jail and a $200 fine. It's uncertain if the bills will get a committee hearing in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Johnson last year sought an interim study on medical marijuana, but the chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee declined her request, saying legalization of medical marijuana would be prohibited under federal law.
Bill would ban texting, driving
Legislation has been filed that would prohibit drivers from texting while their vehicles are in motion. House Bill 1503 by Rep. Curtis McDaniel, D-Smithville, would exempt texts to emergency response operators, medical providers, firefighters and law officers.
The penalty would not exceed $500. McDaniel said texting and driving is as dangerous or more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. Changes in technology have created a texting culture which has decreased road safety, he said.
MICHAEL MCNUTT, CAPITOL BUREAU