Wood is the Lawton/Oklahoma City Chapter President for Green the Vote, an organization lobbying to legalize medical marijuana via an amendment to the state constitution.
Wood said people have many misconceptions about cannabis.
“It’s not killing people,” she said. “It’s not the taboo that our parents think it is.
“Someone doesn’t smoke a joint and go kill their parents, like in the commercials we used to have in the ’70s. That doesn’t happen.”
The organization has 90 days to collect 123,000 signatures, which would place it on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot, Wood said. She said they are shooting for 180,000, a number that doesn’t seem far out of reach.
For Wood, the issue hits close to home.
After having half her pancreas removed three years ago to rid her body of cancerous tumors, she was in tremendous pain. Doctors kept prescribing pain medications, but Wood said she got fed up with that after about a year.
“I don’t like the feeling of pain medicine, the way it’s addicting,” she said.
“Then you’re taking your whole medicine bottle in one day. I went through that. I prayed to die because I hurt so bad.”
Wood said everyone should have the choice to decide what medication they use.
“When given the choice between cannabis and pharmaceuticals, I would pick cannabis every time,” she said.
“Why is it legal to take prescription drugs that can kill you and alcohol that can kill you, when marijuana is not going to do near the damage to your body and it will help you?” she asked.
Wood said, in three weeks, the Comanche County/Lawton chapter grew from 46 members to more than 600 members. Nationally, Green the Vote organization has about 5,000 members, Wood said.
Still, she said, there are many who are afraid to publicly support the drive.
Accounting major Madison Buckley said she feels there are pros and cons to marijuana being legalized for medical use.
“Yes, because it would generate a lot money for the government,” she said.
However, Buckley said, she believes marijuana is dangerous to mess around with and those who have a prescription for it may be tempted to sell it illegally.
“I know people who drive when they’re stoned and it’s so dangerous,” she said. “Hallucinations are something you shouldn’t mess with.
“Medically, it’s fine, for cancer and stuff. But there are temptations there.”
Film and video production major Connor Ferguson said marijuana should be legal across the board, but said those selling it medicinally should be required to obtain a license.
“It all should be legal,” he said. “It’s been proven that it does less damage to you than alcohol.
“It’s … a plant rather than a man-made drug. Yeah, it’s got adverse side effects but they’re not too severe, not like heroin and cocaine.”
Wood said a petition the organization drafted establishes a statewide tax for medical marijuana.
The guidelines the group is pushing for are outlined in the petition. Those are:
- Those who have a prescription for medical marijuana could legally possess up to 16 ounces of dried marijuana and 15 plants.
- It also grants the Oklahoma State Department of Health the authority to regulate medical marijuana as an herbal drug, she said.
- The OSDH would track medical marijuana sales and inspect processing plants to ensure they comply with state-established regulations, the petition states.
- Retail applicants must be 21 years or older and pay a $1,500 fee to apply for a license to sell medical marijuana.
- Any marijuana plant containing 3 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which is responsible for marijuana’s psychological effects — would be considered industrial hemp and excluded from the definition of marijuana.
For more information, to read the petition or to find out how to get involved, visit www.greenthevote.com.
More information also can be found on the Comanche County/Lawton Green the Vote community on Facebook.