Oklahoma Marijuana Regulation and Right to Use Act: A Socially Conscious Ballot

Oklahoma is putting the finishing touches on a  ballot measure seeking to approve recreational marijuana in the Sooner state. Known as the Oklahoma Marijuana Regulation and Right to Use Act, the measure would allow “all persons twenty-one (21) years of age and older to grow, purchase, transport, receive, prepare and consume marijuana and marijuana products,” and to “possess up to: twelve (12) marijuana plants and the marijuana harvested therefrom; one (1) ounce of concentrated marijuana; seventy-two (72) ounces of topical marijuana; seventy-two (72) ounces of edible marijuana; eight (8) ounces of suppository marijuana and eight (8) ounces of commercially sold marijuana.”

Beyond the recreational aspects, the petition will address the thorny issue of impairment testing. According to the CDC, “Impairment from marijuana varies with THC concentration or dose, route of administration, and users’ experience with, or tolerance to, the drug. Since marijuana is stored in the fatty tissue, it can be detected through drug testing several days or weeks – long after the individual has stopped experiencing any physiological effects and impaired functioning.” 


Source: fool.comIn line with this thinking, the ballot states:  “The mere presence of THC metabolites in a person’s blood, urine, hair, hair follicle, or other body fluids or tissues carries no evidentiary weight with regards to current impairment or intoxication. No test which identifies the presence of THC metabolites in a person’s blood, urine, hair, hair follicle, or other body fluids or tissues shall be used as evidence of impairment or intoxication for the purposes of denying any form of healthcare, housing, employment, public assistance, license or licensed activity, public benefit, parental right, educational opportunity, or extracurricular activity.”

Furthermore, the initiative forbids the detection of THC  to be used as “dispositive for the determination of any violation of federal or state law or local ordinance,” and that “Proof of impairment requires confirmation of impairment through the use of cognitive, kinetic and/or behavioral evaluations.”

And while the ballot does not forbid testing to determine if employees are high while at work, it does state that “No employer may refuse to hire, discipline, discharge or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee solely on the basis of conduct permitted under this Article.” 

On the medical side, it specifies that “marijuana use does not constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a marijuana user from medical care,” including organ donation. It also stipulates that medical practitioners cannot deny treatment of marijuana users “including the prescribing of scheduled medications such as opioids or benzodiazepines” within the language of the ballot. 

To tackle the issue of children in the home of marijuana smokers, it states that “marijuana use does not constitute the use of an illicit substance” with regard to “assessing child endangerment, abuse or neglect,” and that “No person shall be denied custody of or visitation or parenting time with a minor solely on the basis” for using marijuana within the language of the ballot. 

And because of the recent spate of cases involving child endangerment charges being brought against women who use marijuana while pregnant, the act states the “presence of active THC or THC metabolites in birthing-related tissues is not solely in itself dispositive of child endangerment, abuse or neglect.” 

The ballot does not forbid testing of motorists who appears under the influence, but it does forbid the “revocation or suspension of any state-issued license, including drivers’ licenses, concealed carry permits, occupational or professional licensing” for using marijuana under the conditions of the act. 

The ballot also restricts law enforcement from punishing people for marijuana users who are on probation or parole, and forbids marijuana possession from being used as “a reasonable articulable suspicion of any civil infraction or criminal act or be the sole basis for detention, search, or arrest.” 

In keeping with other states that focus on social justice issues, it also stipulates how the proceeds from the sale of marijuana will be addressed with regard to taxation and specifies that  “Three percent (3%) of the gross collection of the excise tax on retail marijuana sales shall be used to fund grants to pay for the expungement program.” And with an eye towards inclusiveness, it states “Five percent (5%) of the gross collection of the excise tax on retail marijuana sales shall be transferred to the Department of Human Services to provide for Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Programs for the benefit of persons with physical and developmental disabilities.” 

Because Oklahoma is experiencing prolonged drought, the act articulates that “Ten percent (10%) of the gross collection of the excise tax on retail marijuana sales shall be made available to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board for infrastructure financing programs to foster water supply reliability and economic and environmental resiliency.”

Perhaps most importantly, the initiative deals head-on with people serving time for marijuana infractions, allowing them to petition their cases for review. Specifically, it states Oklahoma residents may “petition for resentencing, reversal of conviction and dismissal of case, or modification of judgment and sentence before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in the person’s case to request resentencing, modification, or reversal.” 

The group that assembled and will be submitting the ballot is Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action (ORCA), a registered 501(c)4 not-for-profit incorporation. You may contact ORCA for information by email: [email protected], or by phone: 405-999-2244.

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