by Chip Paul
As I write this we are just past the one year anniversary for the rollout of our medical marijuana program. As most of you know, or have figured out by now, we were set up to fail. By allowing the program to rollout with very little regulation, no lab testing, and really very little oversight, the powers that be were hoping that we (the industry) would screw up in some major ways. They thought folks would produce bad and unsafe products to make a quick buck. They thought we would be poisoned by untested materials. They thought we would be diverting marijuana to Texas. They thought we would be in such a mess by this time that we would ask them to “fix it”.
Thankfully, we are smarter than that. Thanks to every responsible commercial license holder who has toed the “ethical” line. No one has gotten sick from bad product. For the most part, the industry has run responsibly and with few issues. Where there have been issues, we have been excellent about self regulating with peer pressure and other methods.
And look at where we are! In spite of being “set up to fail” we have flourished. Oklahoma now leads the nation in medical patients by percentage of population…in our first year! We have an open program and docs now willing to write into it. We have good medicine being grown and sold, legally, in our state. We have numerous patient stories and testimonials about the tremendous success of our program.
So, where do we go now? Well, there are still those trying to tear us down. We need to decriminalize marijuana and shore up the medical program. This would take away ALL of the legal issues surrounding housing (as long as not federal), custody, state aid, law enforcement, court enforcement, and legislative issues concerning marijuana. All of us would have a legal way to access marijuana thru the medical program, but no Oklahoma would ever suffer under a marijuana charge again. We, as medical marijuana patients, represent a LARGE voting block. With soon to be 200,000 patients we will be about 1/5 of the voting population. I would encourage every patient drive to also be registering those patients to vote. While we will not be united on every issue, we certainly will be on those issues where our rights to access legal marijuana are threatened. WETHEPEOPLE is a powerful force here in Oklahoma. Lets stay united and look to next steps.