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Marijuana Plant • Its Medicine!


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Compiled by Tim Landes

Laura Bales is a Tulsan and full-time RN case manager for a regional hospice.  She is an advocate for marijuana plant usage in a medical setting and has been looking to get more involved since the passage of SQ 788.  She is the founder of the Oklahoma Cannabis Nurses Association and works closely with Hemp for Hospice.

What got you started being a vocal advocate for marijuana usage?  

I have seen way too many patients vocalize the palliative benefits of cannabis over my 24 plus year career. Over the last three years in hospice, I have really seen it in people’s homes and have seen a dramatic response in a cancer patient with concentrated THC oil. Seeing that amazing attack on cancer before my very eyes made me a wholehearted believer in the therapeutic benefit of marijuana plant in medicine.

Are you for medicinal marijuana usage, recreational use or both? 

I am pro medical, but am not against recreational use for those who choose that option.

You work in the medical field as a nurse. Do you find yourself in the minority for your beliefs or do you believe marijuana usage is now being viewed differently in the industry? 

I feel like pro-cannabis medical professionals are still in the minority, but there are more and more believers stepping forward, which is changing the landscape in medicine.

State Question 788 seemed to move fast from announcement to being overwhelmingly passed in the election. Why do you think Oklahomans were so in favor of the measure? 

I feel that marijuana plant has been around forever and people have just quietly broken the law and self-medicated.  With the huge grassroots effort, Oklahomans saw that this could be a real possibility and they voted when they might not have otherwise.

Have you received your card? Can those in the medical field apply for a license? 

I actually just got my application approval email and am awaiting my card in the mail. I spoke with the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, and they are not changing their rules at all with regards to the passage of 788. They will treat it just like alcohol and there will only be a problem if patient safety is impacted or someone is impaired on the job. The challenge for nurses will be with their employers, many of whom will retain their current “drug-free” policies.  Much work will need to be done in this area.

When you’re not doing your day job, you spend a lot of time as a pro-marijuana activist as it relates to medicine. What is OCNA and how are you involved? What is the overall goal of the organization?

Oklahoma Cannabis Nurses Association and I am the founder. Our Mission Statement is “To Advance Cannabis Medicine through education, advocacy, partnership, and research,” so the sky is the limit. I’m most passionate about changing the face of modern medicine and contributing to the undoing of 70 years of “Reefer Madness!”

This may be something other nurses are interested in joining. How can people get involved with the organization?  

I am currently seeking Board and Committee members and then filing for non-profit status. Then memberships will be available as well.

What is Hemp for Hospice and how are you involved?  

Hemp for Hospice was an idea of Chris Moe (aka Uncle Grumpy), and he told me about it when he found out I work in hospice. The basic principle is that no one on hospice will ever have to pay for cannabis.

So what is your role in Hemp for Hospice now? Will it change with the passage of 788?

My role will be to raise the money to implement the program that will either use excess flowers or donated flowers to be provided at no charge to hospice patients.

What is the best way for someone to contact Hospice for Hemp if they want to assist in your efforts? 

The best way to contact the Hemp for Hospice program for information is via email okmjrn@gmail.com

Where do you see the marijuana industry in Oklahoma in the next 5 to 10 years? 

I hope to see the marijuana plant removed from the drug schedule altogether or at least out of Schedule 1. I also see the entire face of medicine shifting to natural choices such as Cannabis. I also foresee an industrial shift with all of the uses of hemp.

The president has said he’s considering changing the classification of marijuana. How will removing marijuana from the Schedule 1 category change your job? 

It will open up the possibility of setting standards for Evidence-Based practice in Cannabis Nursing via Research.

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