Oklahoma votes 'yes' to medical marijuana - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Oklahoma votes 'yes' to medical marijuana

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ARDMORE, Okla. — Medical marijuana will soon be legal in the State of Oklahoma.

With all precincts reporting, State Question 788 -- which legalizes pot for pain relief and other ailments -- received 57 percent of the vote in Tuesday's primary election.

"It's obvious that the people of Oklahoma want this," said State Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-District 48), who is not running for re-election. 

Gov. Mary Fallin has pledged to call a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature if the marijuana measure passes so that the necessary regulations can be enacted.

"It will be a short session, I believe," Ownbey said. "I think right now we just have to have the regulations in place."

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority said it will begin accepting applications for the required license to use marijuana no later than August 25.

The race for Oklahoma governor was at the top of the primary election ballot. A total of 15 candidates — 10 Republicans, two Democrats and three Libertarians — are seeking to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Mary Fallin in the first open governor's race since 2010.

Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb told supporters Tuesday at an election night party that it appears he lacks the votes to make a two-way runoff for the nomination. Former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett had already clinched a spot in the Aug. 28 runoff. Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt held a slight lead over Lamb for the second spot with nearly all votes counted.

Stitt is the founder and CEO of Jenks-based Gateway Mortgage Group and a political newcomer who has painted himself as the outsider.

Former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson defeated ex-state Sen. Connie Johnson to win the Democratic nomination in the governor’s race.

Locally, voters in Durant rejected two propositions — one that would have ended the sundown date for a 1 percent sales tax and another that would have established a $20 million bond to fund street repairs.

Carter County Election Board Secretary Diane Hall said she was overwhelmed by Tuesday's turnout.

"It has been massive. It's been huge. People have turned out, the lines are long," she said. "It's way more than we had anticipated."

Every registered Oklahoma voter was eligible to cast a ballot on State Question 788, which will let physicians authorize medical marijuana licenses for people to legally grow, keep and use cannabis. Law enforcement, business, political and faith leaders launched a late, half-million-dollar campaign to defeat it.

Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman said spring teacher protests seem to have gotten voters engaged, and that many voters felt strongly about Tuesday's vote on medical marijuana.

Meaghan Hunt cast her vote Tuesday's in favor of legalization because she wants sales of the plant to generate new revenue for the state. She hopes that money would fund education.

The 33-year-old librarian's vote comes after thousands of teachers demonstrated at the state Capitol in the spring demanding more money for classrooms.

Hunt says she also views marijuana as another form of treatment for patients with various ailments and wants them to have as many options as possible.

Real estate agent Connie Givens says she voted against the measure Tuesday at her voting precinct in northwest Oklahoma City. Givens, a 67-year-old Republican, says she believes the ballot measure is written too broadly and will permit people to use marijuana recreationally.

Runoff elections, if necessary, will be held on Aug. 28.

Oklahoma election officials said nearly twice as many Republicans and Democrats voted early in this year's primary elections compared to four years ago, and enthusiasm is particularly high among Democrats.

Oklahoma Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said nearly 31,000 registered Democrats voted early ahead of Tuesday's elections, more than twice the 14,100 who voted early in 2014.

Turnout is sharply higher for Republicans, too. Ziriax said about 36,600 Republicans voted early this year, compared to about 21,600 in 2014.

Watch your vote count Tuesday evening on KTEN and KTEN.com.

The Associated Press and KTEN.com editor Walt Zwirko in Denison contributed to this report. 

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