From the Front Lines – August 2019

The Oklahoma Medical Cannabis Movement

by Chip Paul

Cynthia Paul, Shelley Free (Executive Director of Oklahomans for Health), and myself have attended several organizational meeting over the last few weeks.  Alot of commercial interests, activist interests, and just interested parties are beginning to talk about a consolidated and comprehensive marijuana law which would incorporate decriminalization of marijuana, medical marijuana, and hemp.
While Oklahomans For Health has never been about decriminalization of marijuana, something that I am beginning to personally realize is this.  We have the best medical marijuana program in the country, bar none.  Fastest to roll out, fastest to 50,000 patients, then 100,000, and now 150,000 patients.  We led the nation in patients as a percentage of population (4%).  We will have the 3rd largest medical program in the country by the end of this year (behind only California and Michigan).  Our fine lawmakers have already begun to erode our program.  We still have some loud no voices in positions of power (something to consider next election cycle).
So how do we protect our medical marijuana program?  Leave it to lawmakers?  I think not.  How do we build proper testing and labeling standards that cross medical marijuana, hemp, and potentially decriminalization of marijuana?  Leave it to lawmakers?  How do we ensure our hemp program leads the nation like our medical marijuana program?  Leave it to lawmakers?
While some of our lawmakers have been champions of our program, they are a minority.  When we, as a community, stay unified, we are a force.  We will start work on a comprehensive marijuana petition which will further protect the medical program, will build a decriminalization of marijuana program, and will incorporate hemp.  Watch for news of the petitioning effort in the near future.

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