NORMAN — Change, they say, is usually incremental. Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Oklahoma City, has been trying for the past six years to get her colleagues in the Oklahoma legislature to at least hold a hearing on her medical marijuana bill.
That hearing finally came this week. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee defeated a proposal to legalize the medical use of marijuana.
The legislation would have allowed a qualified patient or designated caregiver to possess up to eight ounces of dried marijuana and 12 plants.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana laws. In 1996, California became the first state in the nation to enact a medical marijuana law. Additionally, two states have moved to decriminalize marijuana possession for recreational use.
We don’t look for any groundswell of support for Sen. Johnson’s legislation. Oklahoma remains one of the toughest states for prosecution of drug crimes. Law enforcement officials consider marijuana a gateway drug and have gone on record as opposing any move to make its use legal for medical purposes or otherwise.