- Associated Press - Saturday, October 1, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A petition that would legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma will go before voters in a future election after a 10-day period that allowed for challenges over the validity of the signatures expired this week.

Supporters of State Question 788 gathered more than 67,000 signatures to put the measure on a ballot, likely for the 2018 election, The Oklahoman reported (https://bit.ly/2d43Qn0 ).

The ballot question could be put to voters earlier through a special election, but that option appears unlikely given the $1.2 million cost to the budget-crunched state.

Chip Paul, a spokesman for the group backing the proposal, Oklahomans for Health, said supporters will lobby for a special election next year, arguing that any delay could deprive treatment for hundreds of patients suffering from cancer, seizures or other serious illness.

State officials have said backers of the measure didn’t submit their signatures to qualify with enough buffer time for legal challenges and for the state’s Election Board to print and send ballots to counties, military members and overseas voters.

If approved by voters, the measure would permit doctors to recommend a patient, who is at least 25 years old, for a state-issued medical marijuana license. Patients would be allowed to legally possess up to 3 ounces of the drug.

“The more than 67,000 Oklahomans who signed the petition for medical marijuana will have their voices heard,” said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. “The historic success of this grassroots effort led by Oklahomans for Health is a testament to the overwhelming support for medical marijuana.”


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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