Petitioning for pot has seen its perils
EDITORIAL | Yet another medical marijuana petition will soon be circulating and supporters will be asked to sign again
When leaders only want to be in charge or want to be seen more than they actually want to get something done, everybody suffers.
I learned this firsthand when I became involved with the Green the Vote movement this spring.
GTV is an organization out of Tulsa that set out to petition the state to legalize medical marijuana. Some 125,000 signatures were needed to get a bill on the ballot. Only around 75,000 were collected.
And why did they fail? I believe there were a few different issues.
Oklahomans for Health is another grassroots organization based in Oklahoma City. They tried the same thing last year with a slightly different petition.
OFH was planning to petition the state in September but decided to wait until spring. GTV, with time running out, drew up a petition similar to one OFH submitted the previous year with a few minor changes. It failed miserably.
Neither group could concentrate on anything aside from who was going to be the one to get this done. It was a competition. GTV was so focused on what OFH had done wrong and devolved into petty arguing. They lost sight of the goal.
Everyone wanted to be in charge of the movement. If you get involved in something of this nature, it does become your movement, but you can’t tear down what someone else has already built. There is actually a way to join a group and be a leader while still showing respect for others and to get the task accomplished.
OFH will start petitioning again in the spring, making it the third attempt to get this bill on the ballot. This creates another problem. People are not going to stop their cars while driving to work when they see a petition site to sign another petition because they think they have already signed it. No. This will be a new one.
OFH’s petition is closer to other petitions around the country. It is not as lax as the GTV petition. There are more restrictions on how many plants distributors and individuals can have. I believe this bill would have had a better chance at collecting the signatures it needed if GTV had not gone forward with their petition.
OFH has their work cut out for them. They will have to get the word out that they are once again collecting signatures but now also spread the word to the ones who have already signed that they need to sign yet again.
The biggest problem though may lie in the medical portion of the medical marijuana legalization effort.
Some among the younger generation do not want to support the medical marijuana movement because they would rather support legalization all the way across the board.
They want marijuana to be legalized but if they have to see a doctor to get it then they lose interest.
The same holds true for the medical professionals.
The doctors I have spoken to do not want to be responsible for deciding who gets a prescription and who doesn’t because they don’t want the state holding them responsible for the so called drug getting into the wrong hands. They say, if you want it in the state, then legalize it all together.
The laws are changing but they won’t change by themselves. Know about the efforts being made to create change in your own area. We have to speak up. We have a voice for a reason. Use yours. Get involved and when you do, focus most on getting things done.