OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — A bill that would have allowed patients with serious illness to obtain and use medical marijuana if recommended by their doctors was killed by a committee of the Oklahoma Senate at a hearing Tuesday.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-2 against the measure in a party-line vote with Republicans in opposition.
SB 710, introduced by State Sen. Constance Johnson (D-Oklahoma City), would have allowed patients with debilitating medical conditions to privately possess up to eight ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their homes. Patients would have also been able to obtain marijuana through state-sanctioned collectives.
Senator Johnson has introduced several measures over the last six years to ease the penalties for marijuana possession or allow medical marijuana in the state, but they typically have not even been granted a hearing.
Despite the bill’s defeat, she remains optimistic that attitudes are changing, seeing the hearing as a sign of progress in the conservative state.
“I consider it a victory for the citizens of this state,” said Sen. Johnson after the hearing. “I think it’s a step in the right direction in terms of moving it forward and getting some indication of what people’s reservations are so we’ll know what to address.”
A hearing on a separate marijuana-related bill will be held Wednesday, Feb. 27 by the House Public Safety Committee. HB 1835, sponsored by Rep. Cory Williams (D-Stillwater), would remove marijuana from the list of substances for which a second or subsequent possession offense results in a felony conviction.
Currently, a second marijuana possession offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of two to 10 years in prison.