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Oklahomans Will Vote on America's Most Progressive Medical Marijuana Proposal in 2018

With a plan for open enrollment based on doctor recommendations instead of qualifying conditions, the Bible Belt could turn into the cannabis industry’s next boomtown.

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Legal weed legislation has been sweeping the nation for the last decade, but while over half of the country now has some sort of access to medical or recreational bud, the nation’s most progressive markets are still largely concentrated on the coasts, with California and Colorado leading the way while Massachusetts and Maine sort out their recreational regulations. In America’s Bible Belt, though, where Trump carried the vote and reefer madness policies are still largely the law of the land, Oklahoma is trying to turn a fly-over reputation into a cannabis industry destination.

When Oklahomans vote on State Question 788 in November 2018, they’ll be voting to make the Sooner State America’s most progressive medical marijuana provider. As it’s written, SQ788 would create a medical marijuana program with no qualifying conditions and no limits on the number of plants a licensed grower can produce. If passed, any Oklahoman who can get a doctor’s recommendation would be eligible to purchase and use the state’s legal weed.

According to Oklahomans for Health, the nonprofit group spearheading the fight for SQ788, the open-ended platform would help Oklahomans with rare, often overlooked medical conditions get the same access as other patients in need. NORML has referred to the framework of Oklahoma’s MMJ proposal as “an example of what other states’ medical marijuana laws should look like.”

In addition to equal access, the proposed legislation would turn Oklahoma into a boomtown for legal weed businesses incentivized by unlimited production opportunities. 

Oklahomans for Health have been fighting to bring medical marijuana legislation to the state’s ballot for years now, but haven’t found success until now. With the measure finally on the ballot, though, state activists are confident they can continue the trend and pass SQ788 next year.

Despite the state’s Republican reputation, the optimism might not be too farfetched, either. A 2013 report from SoonerPoll found that upwards of 70% of Oklahoma residents supported medical marijuana legislation, and with popular attitudes only softening since then, it’s not absurd to imagine Oklahoma City as the pinpoint of the country’s next local green rush.