For Immediate Release: May 31, 2018

Sen. James Lankford Joins OK Faith Leaders in Opposing SQ 788

Today, a grassroots and broad-based coalition of Oklahoma’s faith leaders announced their opposition to State Question 788, a ballot referendum that would legalize the commercialization and sale of medical marijuana in Oklahoma. The measure will be on the June 26 statewide ballot.

More than 100 of Oklahoma’s clergy form the coalition to defeat SQ 788 because they believe it will be harmful to the social fabric of Oklahoma, including families and businesses.

U.S. Senator James Lankford is a member of the group. He is concerned about the risks marijuana poses, especially to families and our economy.

“This state question is being sold to Oklahomans as a compassionate medical marijuana bill by outside groups that actually want access to recreational marijuana. Most of us have seen first-hand the damage done to families and our communities from recreational marijuana use,” Sen. Lankford said.

“This is a moment when we should work to make our state stronger, healthier and more economically sound, not more drug addicted and distracted. No one will convince me that our families will be better if only more parents and grandparents smoke more marijuana.”

“Our workplaces will not be more productive and safe when more people smoke marijuana in and around the workplace. Our universities will not be more successful with more marijuana use on campus. Our schools and our kids will not be better educated if more parents and grandparents smoke more marijuana, even if it does increase tax revenue. It is a sad sign of our culture when marijuana lobbyists and users can push increased access to marijuana as a supposed benefit for our kids.”

Paul Abner is director of Oklahoma Faith Leaders, a group who is part of the multi-faith coalition against SQ 788. He says SQ 788 is not about medical marijuana, but is a much more expansive bill that will have adverse side effects and an affiliation with crime.

“We need to recognize State Question 788 for what it is – NOT medical marijuana,” said Abner. “Under the language of the state question, marijuana can be prescribed to an 18-year-old complaining of a toothache. I’m against this bill – not because I don’t have compassion for people dealing with painful illnesses – but because of the broad nature of this bill and the drugs’ negative impact on our communities and families.”

Oklahoma’s faith leaders say that they don’t want the harmful consequences of legalizing this drug seen in other states, like increased incidents of drugged driving and more kids using marijuana.

“State Question 788 will do much more than offer a path to medical marijuana,” said Archbishop Paul Coakley of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. “The way the measure is written, we believe it threatens far more unintended consequences than solutions. Medical marijuana is a serious policy proposal that requires thorough investigation and debate. We must oppose State Question 788 and any similar measure until full consideration can be given to this subject.”

Abner said that his group is concerned with the fact that in SQ 788, there is no medical illness requirement in order to obtain a prescription – so an 18-year-old with a headache could receive a license to possess marijuana.

“None of us can sustain the sound minds and healthy bodies God desires us to have when we place ourselves under the controlling influence of something other than his Spirit. If this state question passes, we have no ability to stop someone from using marijuana in public places, exposing even children to second-hand marijuana smoke, because it elevates the status of marijuana to a medicine.

“State Question 788 is recreational marijuana disguised as medical marijuana and why we say this state question should absolutely not pass,” Abner said.

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