OKLAHOMA CITY — U.S. Sen. James Lankford has joined a conservative group opposed to the referendum that would legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma, according to Tulsa World.
Lankford joined the religious group Oklahoma Faith Leaders, which is opposed to Question 788, a measure that would legalize medical marijuana in the state for adults 18 years of age and older. The group has called the measure "harmful to the social fabric" of the state.
Oklahomans will vote on Question 788 June 26, and Lankford is speaking out against the measure and encouraging votes against the initiative. The Oklahoma State Department of Health would provide medical marijuana licenses to patients with a recommendation from their physician. The state medical marijuana license would cost $100.
Senator Says Families Will Be Damaged by Medical Marijuana
Lankford said he's against the measure in a statement to reporters.
"No one will convince me that our families will be better if only more parents and grandparents smoke more marijuana," he said.
Lankford went on to say the state question is a push for recreational marijuana masquerading as a medical marijuana initiative.
"Most of us have seen first-hand the damage done to families and our communities from recreational marijuana use," he said.
Oklahomans for Health is the group responsible for the initiative to legalize medical marijuana. The organization was created in 2014 and helped to get signatures for the petition to legalize marijuana in the state.
Those opposed to the initiative say that the measure is too broad and essentially legalizes the drug for recreational use. Lankford claims legalizing medical marijuana will lead to more drug-addicted people in the state.
Proponents of the initiative say the constitutional language in the bill makes for simple amendments, and evidence shows that medical marijuana can decrease opioid use, overdoses, and relapses in addicts. Other states with legal medical marijuana saw a decrease in the number of opioid painkiller prescriptions written.
Campaign director for "Yes on 788" Jed Green said that by passing the measure, the state could benefit from job creation and health benefits that come with medical marijuana, noting that there are "a host of illnesses that medical marijuana has been very effective in treating.”
Medical marijuana has been effective in treating symptoms from Alzheimer's, cancer, severe epilepsy, intractable pain, PTSD, opioid addiction, multiple sclerosis, nausea, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson's disease, and others.
Polls show that at least 62 percent of Oklahoma voters approve of legalizing medical marijuana.