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January 25, 2013

Pot bills have little chance of passing Dorman says

CHICKASHA — Bills filed this week to establish Oklahoma medical marijuana and reduce penalties for small amounts of the drug will not pass according to Representative Joe Dorman.

"I have a greater likelihood of getting a date with Kate Upton," Dorman said. "There is no way either of those will pass."

State Senator Constance Johnson filed the bills.

Senate Bill 902 directs the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to develop and adopt rules that allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use marijuana with approval from their physicians and to establish fees for the “licensing, production, distribution, and consumption” of marijuana for medical purposes.

Senate Bill 914 would reduce the maximum penalty for possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana from a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of $1,000 to a maximum of 10 days in jail and a fine of $200.

“There is a vast amount of evidence demonstrating the medical benefits of marijuana for individuals suffering from certain debilitating conditions,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project in a press release. “If a doctor believes their patient can alleviate his or her pain and suffering by using marijuana, that patient should be able to do so without the fear of arrest.”

Grady County District Attorney Jason Hicks said the passing of either of these bills would make his job far more difficult.

"I dot like the idea of medicinal marijuana," he said. "There are more than enough pain relievers and medicines available to treat just about any disease or ailment out there. If this passes, our ability to prosecute marijuana crimes goes out the window.

Dorman echoed these remarks, but said he has received requests from several of his constituents asking to pursue this sort of action.

"Personally I think it would be hard to monitor and control," he said.

Rationality should be a commanding factor in the state's legislature when discussing this issues according to Tvert.

"It is irrational to throw an adult in jail for up to a year simply for possessing a product that is objectively less harmful than alcohol,” Tvert said. “It is inhumane to do it when that individual is seriously ill and using marijuana to improve his or her quality of life.”

Currently 18 states and the District of Columbia allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians.

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