With Medical Marijuana OK’d in Oklahoma, Governor Fears It ‘Opens the Door’ for Recreational Use

By Tim Talley

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said she respects voters’ wishes but is concerned that her state’s approval of medical cannabis Tuesday, June 26, 2018, “opens the door” for recreational use.

Voters easily approved a measure, State Question 788, allowing cannabis to be used as medicine in the traditionally conservative state. The term-limited Republican governor said she and other state officials are responsible for public health and safety, and that they’ll work to determine how to add proper regulatory framework for medical marijuana.

Ron Marlatt and his wife, Liz, toast beverages after early voting results indicated a lead for the approval of State Question 788, Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in Oklahoma City. It allows physicians to approve medical marijuana licenses for people to legally grow, keep and use cannabis. The Marletts attended a watch party at the Colcord Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City where a small group of medical marijuana supporters followed election results on television and electronic devices. (Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman via AP)

“I believe, as well as many Oklahomans, this new law is written so loosely that it opens the door for basically recreational marijuana,” Fallin said in a statement Tuesday, June 26, 2018 after election results were clear. Nearly 57 percent of voters supported State Question 788.

Oklahoma’s was the first marijuana question on a state ballot in the U.S. in 2018, with elections scheduled for later this year in Michigan and Utah. Voters in neighboring Arkansas legalized the drug for medical use in 2016, but Oklahoma is among the most conservative states to approve its use.

Leslie Collum, right, a registered nurse, and several hundred supporters of State Question 788 celebrate the passage of the medical marijuana initiative at a watch party at the Speakeasy, Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in Oklahoma City. State Question 788 was the result of an activist-led signature drive. (Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman via AP)

Voters came out in droves to vote on the issue, which made it onto Oklahoma’s ballot through a signature drive. The Oklahoma State Election Board says more votes were cast on the marijuana question than in the 2014 general election.

State health officials will meet July 10 to consider emergency rules for the new Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.

In Oklahoma City, 33-year-old Meaghan Hunt said she cast her vote in favor of legalization because she views marijuana as another form of treatment for patients with various ailments. She said she wants them to have as many options as possible.

She also believes state coffers could benefit from the cash marijuana crops would deliver.

“I’d like to see more taxable revenue coming into our state and if that’s an opportunity to collect taxes, all the better — hopefully for education,” Hunt said.

Associated Press writer Adam Kealoha Causey contributed to this report.

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