OKLAHOMA CITY — Supporters of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana were at the Capitol on Tuesday to solicit volunteers and votes.
Green the Vote filed notice on April 3 with the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office that it intends to seek signatures to get the two issues on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The organization is seeking a constitutional change in the form of State Question 796 for medical marijuana use and State Question 797 for recreational marijuana use.
Supporters of a statutory change to allow for the use of medical marijuana are already on the June 26 primary ballot in the form of State Question 788.
Isaac Caviness of Tulsa is president of Green the Vote.
Caviness and his supporters set up a tent on the southeast lawn as thousands of teachers converged on the Capitol in a walkout seeking additional dollars for education.
“The main difference in ours is that it is a constitutional amendment so the Legislature won’t be able to do all the shenanigans with it that they have been trying to do with State Question 788,” Caviness said.
Two measures filed this legislative session seek to implement State Question 788.
Caviness said both of the state questions have earmarks for public education.
In addition, the group’s medical marijuana petition has a list of qualifying conditions, unlike State Question 788, he said. State Question 788 requires it to be administered under the care of a doctor.
“That was one of the complaints that the opposition had that there was no list of qualifying conditions, so we added a list of qualifying conditions,” he said.
State Question 796 lists conditions such as cancer, arthritis, post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s.
Caviness said if all three of the state questions pass, the constitutional changes are the ones that would be in effect.
“This is a backup plan,” he said. “If we waited any longer to file, we would be waiting until 2020 to vote. We wanted to make sure we covered all of the bases.”
Efforts in the past to pass medical marijuana as a constitutional change did not secure the required signatures. Constitutional changes require more signatures than statutory changes.
A proposed constitutional change requires 123,725 signatures to get on the ballot, compared to the 65,987 for statutory changes, according to the Oklahoma Election Board.
Chip Paul, a spokesman for Oklahomans for Health, which got the original measure on the ballot, said he supports efforts to legalize medical marijuana. He said legalizing recreational use has not been his organization’s issue.