One of the most pressing debates of our time surrounds the legalization of marijuana, and while many states are making progress, some still haven’t taken the full leap. Oklahoma recently allowed for medical marijuana – but when, if ever, could we see marijuana legalized in Oklahoma fully, and how would this affect MMJ?
MMJ Laws in Oklahoma
Let’s start with the basics. Is MMJ legal in Oklahoma? The answer is yes – since last year, medical marijuana has been legal in Oklahoma, so long as you have an MMJ card. However, recreational marijuana is absolutely not legal! We’re going to take a look at when complete legalization might happen, how this has impacted other states that have taken the plunge, and what it could mean for MMJ card holders.
Since the legalization of medical marijuana in Oklahoma last year, the reception seems to have been pretty positive, with 151,000 residents having applied for MMJ cards and more than 170 dispensaries licensed. This actually means that Oklahoma has more MMJ cards per capita than any other state.
However, despite the relatively warm reception medical marijuana has received, Oklahoma still seems pretty strongly opposed to recreational marijuana as a whole. In fact, a recent SoonerPoll survey found that 59% of Oklahoma residents would oppose expanding legalization to include recreational use. That said, there are still considerable policy changes being implemented to safeguard medical users – such as the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, which means that an employer cannot deny work to, discipline, or fire an employee based on the grounds that they are a medical marijuana patient. Nor can businesses fire a patient for a positive marijuana test, unless it has safety implications (such as the operation of heavy equipment).
What Are The Pros/Cons Of Legal Marijuana In Oklahoma?
There is much debate over whether both medical and recreational marijuana should be legalized in each state, but looking at complete legalization, what are some of the pros and cons that Oklahoma could face?
One of the biggest arguments given for complete legalization is that it will take the marijuana trade out of the hands of criminals. This will lessen the flow of money to organized crime and hopefully reduce violence. Additionally, it means that the money that would have gone to criminals can instead be levied as a tax to help benefit the state and, of course, fund small businesses (like the 170+ dispensaries now in Oklahoma for medical marijuana). Additionally, legalization means less burden on the state, since the number of arrests and court fillings will fall, along with the associated costs. This was clearly seen in Colorado, where marijuana arrests decreased by roughly 52% between 2012 and 2017.
On the other hand, legalization could make marijuana use more prevalent and have a knock-on effect for other crimes – DUIs, for example. This was also found in Colorado, where marijuana-related DUIs jumped from 12% to 15% of all DUIs between 2014 to 2017. Additionally, while having marijuana legalized in Oklahoma would reduce the bureaucracy of unwarranted court proceedings, it would open up a whole new issue of regulation. The overall debate is undoubtably far more complex than this, but is often focused around recreational use. The use of medical marijuana in Oklahoma is far more stable, but could this be changed by complete legalization?
How Could Full Legalization Affect MMJ?
Complete legalization will of course make marijuana more ubiquitous in the state, but the real impact on MMJ card holders would be minimal. This is because the restrictions and options for card holders would probably remain the same, giving you the same benefits under complete legalization as you have now. Some of these include being able to use reputable dispensaries to acquire the best products for your condition as well as not having to pay tax on medical marijuana, which you’d likely have to do for recreational marijuana. Furthermore, the age restrictions would vary, with an MMJ card allowing anyone over to 18 access the products they need – not so likely with recreational marijuana.
How can you get an MMJ card in Oklahoma?
Whether we see marijuana legalized in Oklahoma entirely or not, the best option for most people will still be an MMJ card due to savings, higher-quality products, and fewer restrictions. In Oklahoma, you’ve been able to apply for an MMJ card since August of last year, and can do so if you suffer from a qualifying condition. These include cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many more, so first check whether you fit into one of these categories.
If you meet the qualifying conditions, an MMJ card can be procured from your doctor. However, many people opt to get their card online, since it allows you to complete the whole process without the hassle of travel, which can be difficult for many people seeking MMJ. Online applications also allow for instant recommendations once the evaluation is completed by qualified professionals.
Overall, medically legal marijuana in Oklahoma has had a pretty positive reception, and with new legislation giving greater protections to MMJ card holders every month, it seems likely that its medical use will only become more common. That said, the state still seems adamantly against the complete legalization of marijuana. Luckily, those who need it can still access it by applying for an MMJ card and using a registered dispensary. Regardless of whether Oklahoma goes for complete legalization, this is still the best option and is unlikely to change.