LAWTON, Okla._A group for the legalization of medical marijuana is starting a petition in October in hopes of putting it on the ballot for Oklahoma voters.
"Green the Vote" is a movement that started in Tulsa this year, and has now expanded to followers in Lawton and Oklahoma City. The organization plans to circulate a petition for the use of medical marijuana as prescribed by a board certified physician.
The group needs 123,000 signatures to get the "state question" on the November 2016 ballot. Supporters say it is a daunting task, but one they are confident they can achieve.
"People are still scared. People are scared to come out of the cannabis closet, but they want to," said Lawton Chapter Coordinator Georgia Wood.
She said the cause is important to her because three years ago she was in the beginning stages of pancreatic cancer.
"I was on pharmaceuticals. I went into the emergency room one time and told them I was in so much pain I was going to walk into traffic if they didn't do something for me. They said 'we are not giving you any more pain medicine' and I said, 'I don't want any more pain medicine. I want you to fix me', said Wood.
Wood had a third of her pancreas removed and is now cancer free. She said it was an eye-opening experience for her.
"If I have the choice. I want to be able to choose what medication that I want to take and for me cannabis would be my drug of choice," said Wood.
However, board certified Physician Dr. Richard Brittingham said while some patients like Wood find the drug beneficial, he said he does not want to be responsible for prescribing it.
"To use medical marijuana to legalize medical marijuana as a way of marijuana into the community it puts the burden on the shoulders of the physician, because people are going to be going to the doctor saying 'Hey I want my marijuana prescription because I have whatever I have," said Brittingham.
Brittingham said he does use a cannabinoid medication similar to marijuana for some of his cancer patients that suffer from anorexia to increase their appetite.
"That's a licensed and appropriate medical use for marijuana, but smoking a joint for medical purposes is just bogus. That's my feelings. Like I said you may not want to hear what I have to say. If you want to get marijuana in the state legalize it," said Brittingham.
Despite any naysayers, Wood said the petition will circulate and is confident it will get the support it needs.
"I believe that this petition, that we will raise the amount of signatures in less than the time that they have given us. We are going to collect them in 60 days instead of 90 because I have seen so much support in this," said Wood.
The drive for signatures will start October 1st and run for 90-days. If enough signatures are collected, the "state question" would appear on the November 8th, 2016 ballot.