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Coalition forms in opposition of medical marijuana initiative

FILE - This Sept. 15, 2015 file photo shows marijuana plants a few weeks away from harvest in a medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill. A survey of U.S. cancer doctors released on Thursday, May 10, 2018, finds nearly half say they've recently recommended medical marijuana to patients, although most say they don't know enough about medicinal use. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

A coalition of medical professionals, law enforcement officials, business leaders and members of the faith community filed papers Tuesday with Oklahoma’s Ethics Commission to formally oppose State Question 788 in hopes of defeating it.

The name of this new coalition is 'SQ 788 is Not Medical.' Organizations signing on include the Oklahoma Medical Association, Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Sheriffs Association, and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

"State Question 788 is really not medical marijuana but recreational marijuana,” said Dr. Larry Booker, a gastroenterologist and member of the Oklahoma Medical Association.

Bookman says the proposal has multiple problems. One of the coalition’s biggest concern is the exclusion of qualifying conditions. All a patient seeking a medical marijuana license has is ask their physician for a recommendation.

The measure allows all seven classes of physicians under Oklahoma state law the power to prescribe, including podiatrist, dentist, even veterinarians.

Another concern is the 30-day window of implementation.

"The state health department, who is in charge of overseeing the bill, is not equipped for this at all,” said Bookman. It doesn't have the money for it."

Brett Farley, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, also pointed to the health department's ongoing financial issues, as well as the lack of regulatory framework needed to ensure consumers' safety.

"As we've seen in some of the issues with other states that have passed marijuana legalization, there are a lot of problems socially that we've seen displayed in those states that we frankly don't want to see come to Oklahoma,” Farley told FOX 25.

Neither he nor Booker are against medical marijuana, they just want to ensure legalization is properly executed.

"It should not be allowed in public places. It should not be allowed in our schools. This law will allow that,” Booker said.

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