On June 26, 2018, over 56% of Oklahoma voters for the least-restrictive medical marijuana law in the country. The law went into effect on July 26, 2018, and as early as November 2018, marijuana bud was for sale at dispensaries. It’s considered the least restrictive because there are no qualifying medical conditions. The conditions marijuana can be prescribed for are completely left up to the prescribing doctor. The law made significant changes to the punishment for marijuana possession.
Now, a person in possession of a state issued medical marijuana license may legally:
- Consume marijuana;
- Possess up to three ounces of marijuana on their person;
- Possess six mature marijuana plants;
- Possess six seedling plants;
- Possess one ounce of concentrated marijuana;
- Possess 72 ounces of edible marijuana; and
- Possess up to eight ounces of marijuana in their residence.
Furthermore, possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana by anyone who can state a medical condition, but not in possession of a state issued medical marijuana license, constitutes a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $400. Succinctly, if you don’t have a marijuana card and are caught by law enforcement with up to 1.5 ounces of weed and you can state a medical condition, then the worst punishment you can receive is a $400 fine–no jail time. Note the language “can state a medical condition.” It doesn’t say you must actually have that medical condition. So, theoretically, you can just say some random medical condition and you should be ok. I will be interesting to see how this plays out. Also, it does not say whom you must say the medical condition to. The police officer? The court? If you don’t immediately state one, then can you later go in front of a judge and say one? This is uncharted territory, so we simply don’t know how this language will ultimately be interpreted.
It will be interesting to see how this new “marijuana possession law for non-card holders” shakes out in relation to the statute that was changed by SQ 780 on July 1, 2017. That law says that (simple) possession of any controlled dangerous substance in Oklahoma can result in up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. It’s the expectation that someone who does not have a marijuana card and is not in possession of more than 1.5 ounces of weed will be charged under this new law. Some municipalities have already changed their marijuana possession punishment to become aligned with this new change in state law. It’s likely that more changes, such as changing the penalties for paraphernalia, will also soon follow.
This was a watershed moment for the country. We proved that the people want easily available medical marijuana–in one of the most conservative states in the country. If this law could be passed by Oklahoma voters, it could be passed anywhere. Just as the sky did not fall as the opponents of 780 (making simple possession of all drugs a misdemeanor) had predicted, the sky will not fall as opponents of this ballot measure predicted. I believe that after a few years of marijuana no longer being such a “big deal’ here, Oklahomans will easily legalize recreational marijuana.
Sources: SQ 788, 63 O.S. § 420A, 63 O.S. § 2-402, Village formally reduces marijuana possession penalties in updated city code, OKC City Council Passes City Ordinance Concerning Marijuana, & Oklahoma Town Decriminalizes Marijuana With Ordinance Changes