Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: February 8, 2011

Veteran legislator files bill to allow use of medical marijuana with doctor’s recommendation

Support is growing in Oklahoma and nationwide to legalize medical marijuana, and Sen. Constance N. Johnson has once again filed legislation to allow for the use of medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. Senate Bill 573 would create the “Compassionate Use Act of 2011”.

“Presently, fifteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to protect those who are sick and terminally ill from prosecution for using medical marijuana,” said Johnson, D-Oklahoma County. “In Oklahoma, however, these patients face the possibility of being locked up in the state’s budget busting and already overcrowded corrections system. It seems inhumane to deny patients access to an alternative medicine that is proven to help ease pain and suffering.”

SB 573 would allow medical doctors to prescribe marijuana for a variety of medical conditions, including cancer, osteoarthritis, and Parkinson’s disease. Under the proposal, it would be legal for a patient to possess or cultivate marijuana for personal medical purposes with a written or oral recommendation or approval by a physician. Neither the patient nor doctor could be charged with any crime relating to possession or cultivation of marijuana.

Johnson has introduced legislation on legalizing medical marijuana since 2006. She cites increasing advocacy in Oklahoma for medicinal uses of marijuana, the substantial impact on the state’s budget of incarceration of non-violent, addicted offenders for crimes such as possession of marijuana; and the growing profits of drug cartels based on illegal market sales as reasons for her continued support of this issue.

She admits that her bill is not perfect in its present form but contends if allowed a hearing by the chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services committee, she will introduce a committee substitute which further fine tunes the proposal.

“This is a step in the right direction. My office has been inundated with letters, emails and calls this past year supporting the approval of medical marijuana. This is a legitimate concern in our state and it’s time that we listen to our citizens and have a discussion about this important issue,” said Johnson. “People who are sick or dying and are consulting with their doctors should, at a minimum, have the liberty to access the medicine that will best serve their unique situations. Who are we to deprive them of that?”

She pointed out that supporters have also created a Facebook page called “I Support SB 573: Medical Marijuana in Oklahoma.” Within its first 24 hours, over 100 supporters had signed on to the site.

For more information contact:
Senator Johnson: (405) 521-5531

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

February Press Releases | Press Releases