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Local group hosts forum on marijuana

LAWTON, Okla._Supporters of legalizing the drug right here in Oklahoma were in Lawton Saturday for an open forum. Two states have already legalized pot, both Colorado and Washington state.  A petition in Oklahoma could get the issue in front of voters in the November general election.  

Several local attorneys, community leaders, and State Senator Connie Johnson spoke at an event geared at giving people facts and dispelling myths. With speakers as diverse as the audience, organizers say it was a good chance for people to get educated.

They say that for such a long time, information about marijuana has been inaccurate, and that now it's time to get  informed on the issue.

71 year old Don Nelson came for one reason. "I wanted to be informed," said Nelson.

It's the reason why so many people chose to come out to the forum including Nelson who now supports medical marijuana, but that hasn't always been the case.

"No, I think there probably was a time when I would have not supported it, but that was back before any kind of scientific information," said Nelson.

Speakers at the forum spoke about what they called the failed war on drugs, the benefits of medical marijuana, and how hemp could help farmers across the country. Senator Connie Johnson said this forum, and others like it, empower people to finally talk about marijuana.

"It's giving them the tools they need to talk positively, to talk responsibly, to talk authoritatively about a very difficult issue," said Johnson.

Johnson says people are using those tools, showing and gaining support.

"I believe there is a growing movement in Oklahoma," said Johnson.

She says the movement is much larger than you would think, that many people are looking at marijuana as something that can make Oklahoma better and make its citizens healthier.

"There is a silent majority out there of people that are using this, who are using it in constructive ways, people that are suffering from cancer and other debilitating diseases," said Johnson.

Nelson said education is the key and when he leaves the forum he knows exactly what he will tell people.

"I am going to tell them they should have been here," said Nelson.

Senator Johnson said she believes the petition to get marijuana on the ballot will get the required amount of  signatures and that voters will show their support in November.

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