UPDATE: Medical marijuana petition signature count to begin next Monday

The signature count for SQ 788 will begin Monday in Oklahoma. File photo.

by Sara Ritsch
Staff Writer

This is an updated version of the article posted on Gayly.com on 8/16/2016 at 1:40 p.m. entitled, "Oklahoma medical marijuana petition allegedly ignored by state officials"

(Oklahoma City, Okla.) – The Oklahoma Secretary of State is currently counting signatures for State Question 787, the petition protection bill, and will start counting for State Question 788, the medical marijuana bill, on Monday.

According to Janine Bradley of Organics OKC, she and the organizers of the nonprofit Oklahomans for Health turned in the petition last Wednesday at 4:20 p.m., but the Sec. of State “didn’t get to it because it was late in the day, and over the next two days that they had it, they said they didn’t have the staff to count it and had to finish other petitions before ours.

“The count should have been done last week. All they have to do is check all signatures to make sure they’re registered voters and look for duplicates.”

Although the petition needed 66,000 signatures, Oklahomans for Health estimates they have received about 77,000.

According to Rep. Joe Dorman on News 9’s The Hot Seat, SQ 787 is a “petition for protection” of other petitions. It would guarantee petitions like 788 and others will not be repealed for at least two years.

Dorman just left the Capitol and reported to The Gayly, "There are six staffers counting, and the supervisor said it was going faster and getting better as time goes by. They are getting closer to finishing up 787; worst case scenario they are starting 788 on Monday, but it could be earlier. I sat and observed for 20 minutes and all are working very hard."

When asked if the petitions are being counted in numerical order, Dorman said, "I'm certain that's the case."

Signatures are counted for SQ 787.
Signatures are counted for SQ 787.

SQ 788 “would legalize the licensed growth, use and possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes,” according to Ballotpedia.org.

Both petitions have been endorsed by Dorman, who helped with the wording, and Sen. Anastasia Pittman (D-Okla.). SQ 788 has been developed in close contact with Dr. Sunil Aggarwal and Regina Nelson, along with multiple doctors, lawyers and patients who understand the benefits of medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana can be used to treat Glaucoma, epileptic seizures, Dravet’s Syndrome, cancer, severe anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, hepatitis C, arthritis, Lupus, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

If passed, SQ 788 would make Oklahoma the first state to remove the “qualifying conditions committee,” which means patients such as veterans and children would have the right to access medical marijuana if a doctor prescribes it.

The office of the Secretary of State was not available for comment at the time of this article.

Copyright 2016 The Gayly - 8/16/2016 @ 2:59 p.m. CDT