State Lawmaker Pushes To Legalize Medical Marijuana


Wednesday, January 30th 2013, 5:48 pm
By: Dana Hertneky


It's already legal in 18 states and Washington DC. Now some want to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma.

Two separate bills on the issue will be in the front of the state legislature this session, both written by Sen. Connie Johnson, (D)-Forest Park.   

Johnson has been trying to get a medical marijuana initiative passed for several years, but her bills have never even been given a hearing. This time the language is more comprehensive and she says she just wants the issue to be vetted through the legislative process.

Ten years ago, Chuck Vaughn had surgery that fused three disks in his spine. The operation allowed him to go back to work, but he's lived every day since the operation in pain.

"It's 24-7, never quits, never," he explained. "I haven't slept in a bed in 10 years."

Chuck takes morphine two times a day, but says that doesn't work. He thinks Medical marijuana might and points to a U.S. Patent on cannabis that says the drug could help those with his condition.

"Doctors have told me they think I would be better off," he said.

"The message it sends kids in my opinion is the most destructive and reckless things about this whole medical marijuana issue," argues Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics spokesperson Mark Woodward.

Woodward argues those who think marijuana would help them can use Marinol, a synthetic and legal marijuana pill.

"It's a movement that is not about medicine, it is a movement by recreational pot smokers looking for a loophole in the law," says Woodward.   

But Chuck says he doesn't want to get high. He just wants to feel better.

"People are suffering and they need to help them," said Vaughn.  

Johnson says, if she can't make something happen in the legislature, she may consider an initiative petition and take the matter straight to the voters.  

This year's legislative session starts on Monday.