As Oklahoma prepares to vote on medical marijuana legalization next Tuesday, some Christian voters in the deep-red state view the issue as a moral dilemma.
If it passes, State Question 788 would legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes, making the Sooner State the 30th in the nation to do so. But some Christian voters see it as a step in the wrong direction.
“Their intent is to undo the influence of the church in Oklahoma – or ‘unbuckle the bible belt.’ This is why we must vote NO!” Oklahoma Faith Leaders, an anti-marijuana legalization faith group, said of pro-legalization advocates in a June 12 Facebook post.
Oklahoma Faith Leaders is led by a former consultant to GOP Sen. James Lankford, and seeks to “organize the faith community” to “fight for the moral future” of the state, according to its Facebook page. This includes rallying against marijuana legalization, which the group says is actually “recreational access to marijuana in disguise.”
Blake Gideon, the pastor of Edmond’s First Baptist Church and a member of Oklahoma Faith Leaders, agrees. He thinks the ballot initiative is “not what it appears to be.”
“This is a deceptive ploy to promote widespread recreational legalization. It’s too broad, and it lacks clarity on who qualifies for a license. There are no guidelines on what illnesses [marijuana] can be prescribed for and what doctors can prescribe it,” he said.
If State Question 788 passes, it would be the first such law in the nation that doesn’t list specific qualifying conditions for which doctors can prescribe medical marijuana for their patients.
“There are no qualifying conditions,” the proposal reads.
“My issue is not with medical marijuana, it’s with State Question 788. Medical officials, the law enforcement community, business leaders, and the faith community have all come together and spoke out against it. It’s not just the faith community,”