OKLAHOMA CITY — A second marijuana petition was filed Friday with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.
Supporters hope to let voters decide whether or not marijuana should be legal in Oklahoma.
Another petition currently circulating seeks to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Both require 155,216 signatures.
Organizers of the more expansive petition include Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Forest Park, Oklahoma City attorney David Slane and Republican gubernatorial candidate Chad Moody. Johnson is running for U.S. Senate.
Johnson said she tried for eight years to change the state’s marijuana policies, to no avail.
She said voters want a voice on the matter.
“God created this wonderful, miraculous plant and we know it has been vilified for the last 100 years and it is time to change that in Oklahoma,” Johnson said.
The proposal would end the over-criminalization of simple marijuana possession, Johnson said.
“We are locking up non-
violent, marijuana-possessing people, giving them felonies, filling up our prisons to the extent we are creating overcrowding in order to justify further placement and fulfilling the 98 percent bed occupancy of private prisons in Oklahoma,” Johnson said.
Over-criminalizing marijuana possession funds the private prison industry, she said. That industry influences policymakers to keep the laws the same but to enhance the penalties, Johnson said.
The measure if approved would legalize industrial hemp to be sold to states that allow marijuana use, Johnson said.
“Oklahoma is a great growing state,” Johnson said.
Slane said the petition incorporates almost 99 percent of the provisions contained in the earlier petition calling for the legalization of medical marijuana.
“We were very careful to not have two constitutional amendments that would conflict,” Slane said.
The petition proposes a $7 tax per ounce, Slane said.
“Free weed at last,” Moody said. “Free weed at last. Thank God almighty we are going to free weed at last.”
Chip Paul, chairman of Oklahomans for Health, which is circulating the medical marijuana petition, said he anticipates the needed signatures will be turned in by Aug. 16.
“We are not overly concerned about it affecting our effort,” Paul said. “In fact, we think it will bring more awareness and contrast to what we are trying to do on the medical side.”
Gov. Mary Fallin said Friday that she does not support either of the petitions.