A year ago, Oklahoma voted overwhelmingly to legalize medical marijuana for licensed patients and to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a modest misdemeanor for just about anyone smart enough to say “glaucoma” to a police officer.
The state’s political gurus were stunned when State Question 788 passed with nearly 57% of the vote. Thousands of new voters came to the polls, skewing all sorts of results and sending state drug policy into a brave new world.
Since then, the opponents of medical marijuana have tried a number of legislative and bureaucratic tricks to undermine the will of those voters. Any politician who would meddle with the expressed will of the people must do so with a bad sense of fair play, politics and mathematics.
Here is another statistic for them to ignore: Nearly 140,000 patients have registered to purchase marijuana legally as of June 17. That’s about 3.5% of the state’s population and far more than anyone expected in the first year.
To qualify for their marijuana card, those patients had to find a doctor willing to write a marijuana referral; convince the doctor that marijuana would help with that problem; apply online with a form that requires their name, date of birth, phone number and other personal information; provide proof of identity; pay a $100 application fee ($20 for Medicare or Medicaid patients); and wait up to two weeks.
Granted there are those in the business making all of that relatively easy, but we’re still impressed by the sheer demand for legal medical marijuana in Oklahoma.
People who track this sort of thing say our per-capita demand is among the highest in the nation.
And that doesn’t count all the people who are still getting their marijuana the old-fashioned way.
The 140,000 people who have gone to that trouble to get medical marijuana cards in the first year of legality represent more than a third of the number who voted against SQ 788.
That vote wasn’t a fluke, which the opponents of medical marijuana should keep in mind.