Categories : Oklahoma Issues

 

Medical Marijuana Facts

April 11, 2018

Many people or their loved ones suffer from chronic pain and other serious health conditions. They understand the addictive qualities of opioids and have found little relief from prescription

medications. They are searching for relief for either themselves or a loved one. In light of what is medically available, it is understandable why many hope marijuana will help them.Medical Marijuana in Oklahoma

Channel 6 News and Tulsa World featured stories on this topic in January 2018. Both stories feature Shawn Jenkins, who advocated on behalf of Marijuana for his epileptic son. Jenkins supports legalizing Marijuana based on the results his son experienced while visiting Colorado. Jenkins and supporters of medical marijuana also site its effectiveness in aiding in the symptoms of other several other diseases as well.

Several articles can be found on the internet both for and against the legalization of Medical Marijuana. The purpose of this article is to highlight the need for safe Opioid alternatives and educate the Oklahoma voter regarding the content of State Question 778.

How State Questions Work

State questions that appear on the Statewide Oklahoma ballot do not go through the legislative process. State questions go through a different process. The short course is that any citizen may initiate statewide legislation, and if not opposed within 10 days of submission for reasons of peace, health or safely, it moves to the next step of gathering signatures on a petition.   If completed within the prescribed time, it moves to the Governor who signs the question in order for it to go on the ballot.  https://ballotpedia.org/Laws_governing_the_initiative_process_in_Oklahoma

State Question 788 was proposed by “Oklahomans for Health” and will appear on the ballot on June 27, 2018.  http://oklahomansforhealth.com/aboutus/  Attorney Chad Moody and other board members authored the bill. Read more about Moody in his bio.

May 1, 2018 Update

Since this article was written, Tulsa group “Green the Vote” is now gathering signatures to add question 796 & 797 to the ballot in November for the legalization of recreational marijuana. Green the Vote spokesperson claims the motive is purely to bring more tax revenue into the state. http://m.news9.com/story.aspx?story=38079288

Green the Vote has chosen the State Question/petition approach in order to circumvent the legislative process. http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagelatest/new-petition-seeks-to-put-recreational-marijuana-on-november-ballot/article_621e0396-1f75-5d0e-b60e-bfbfb74944c2.html

If passed in November, it will amend the Oklahoma constitution by a vote of the people. It remains to be seen whether or not Green the Vote will gather enough signatures to meet the deadline for inclusion on the November ballot.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagelatest/new-petition-seeks-to-put-recreational-marijuana-on-november-ballot/article_621e0396-1f75-5d0e-b60e-bfbfb74944c2.html

What you need to know before you vote

Before you go to the voting booth, here is what you need to know so that you can make an informed decision.

Understand the difference between CBD oil and THC; there is a growing body of evidence that indicates that CBD oil has healing properties; however it is generally agreed among researchers that more study must be done to gain a full understanding of the benefits and risks associated with long-term use. THC is the substance within marijuana that causes a high.  Both are extracts of marijuana and hemp;

 

[…Just like THC, CBD is a chemical compound extracted from hemp plants. Both hemp and cannabis contain cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive substance. THC, however, is the substance that gives users that “high” or psychoactive effect.

CBD is a non-psychoactive substance, so it doesn’t give a natural high to users. It also does not cause anxiety, paranoia, or the mouth and eye dryness associated with THC, even when CBD is consumed in higher concentrations….] https://www.americanhempoil.net/cbd-vs-cannabis-oil/

 

State Question 788 is a broadly written proposition. It provides little regulating other than favoring dispensaries, commercial growers, and processors.

The State Question gives freedom to licensed processor to distill and process plants into concentrates, edibles and other forms for consumption with no regulations regarding the amount THC or CBD in products and no testing required.

 

The Question is ambiguous and unclear in regards to sales.  It first states that a processor may not sell directly to a licensed holder. Several pages later it states that a processor may sell a concentrated form directly to a license holder for a fee.

 

The Medical Marijuana terminology is misleading. There are NO qualifying conditions to get a Medical Marijuana license.

 

Any person over 18 can get a license for any reason as long as they can find a cooperating doctor.  A doctor would be required to sign according to “accepted standards a reasonable and prudent physician would follow when recommending or approving any medication.”  Two physicians’ signatures are required for children under 18.

 

Licenses to use marijuana would cost applicants $100 and last two years. Applications can only be rejected based on not meeting stated criteria or improper completion of the application.

 

Nothing prevents an applicant from “doctor shopping” if refused. Provision is made so no physician may be unduly stigmatized or harassed for signing a license. However, no protection is provided if a physician refuses to prescribe marijuana or finds it medically unnecessary. Additionally, what type of education will be provided for a physician to determine if marijuana would be the best solution for any given patient?   

 

The proposal clearly states that no records will be kept of the issuing physician.

 

Applicant records are sealed. No records will be kept of issuing physician. Consider this hypothetical scenario: suppose a card is issued to a minor and that minor kills himself or someone else while under the influence.  If State Question 788 passes as written, no consenting adult can be held accountable.  What about work accidents when a person is under the influence? If the records are sealed, how can anyone ever be held accountable?  How can statistics be gathered?

 

Any person over 18 with a state issued medical marijuana license shall be able to consume marijuana in any form in any amount in any strength.

           

Any person with a medical marijuana license may

  • grow up to six plants
  • possess six plants in seedling form
  • possess one ounce of concentrated marijuana
  • possess 72 ounces of edible marijuana
  • 8 additional ounces in their residence
  • No provisions are made regarding the amount, type or strength of marijuana (concentrate) that can be purchased. There is no regulation in the question regarding the amount of THC or CBD that an individual may consume.
  • Conversely, if an individual is convicted of selling marijuana without purchasing a commercial growing license they will be subject to a $5000.00 fine. A licensee may be a consumer, but they must not sell it without a license.

 

State Question 788 does not protect municipalities or employers

 

Employers may take action against a license holder if marijuana is found on their possession while in the place of employment but they may not take action as the result of a drug test showing positive for marijuana or its components.  This would appear to represent a double standard. There is nothing in Oklahoma laws that say that an individual cannot bring his medication to work. Why can’t a licensed user bring this “medication” to work?

 

Consider this hypothetical scenario: a licensed marijuana holder legally keeps his edible marijuana in his vehicle and consumes it on his lunch break (all would be legal). It doesn’t affect him for an hour. He operates heavy machinery and causes an accident that seriously injures his coworker. Who will be held responsible? What about workers compensation? Will it cover the person who injures himself at work under the influence? What will happen to insurance rates?

 

No city or local municipality may change or restrict zoning laws to prevent the opening of a retail marijuana establishment. Yet, many cities already have zoning restrictions in place that bars and liquor stores must abide by. On the other hand, Section 1N states that any city or county may enact guidelines to exceed state limits for individuals. Read the whole state question at https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/questions/788.pdf

 

Understand the facts and associated risks

The first part of the article covers the basics of State Question 788. Below are more facts regarding marijuana and some of the unknown variables.

 

Fact #1- It could be dangerous to use CBD in conjunction with some prescription drugs. Dangerous side effects are beginning to emerge. According to ongoing medical research, several prescription drugs have been identified as potential drug interactions when taken with cannabidiol (CBD);

NSAIDS2, Oral hypoglycemic agents, PPI, Antidepressants, Beta-blockers, Anti-arrhythmic, Immune modulators, HIV antivirals ,nsin II blockers, Anti-epileptics, Anesthetics, Benzodiazepines, Prokinetics, Antihistamines, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, Antibiotics, Steroids. https://www.americanhempoil.net/cbd-vs-cannabis-oil/.

 

Fact #2- A study from New Zealand shows long-term use of marijuana decreases IQ by up to 8 points.

 

 […A study from New Zealand conducted in part by researchers at Duke University showed that people who started smoking marijuana heavily in their teens and had an ongoing marijuana use disorder lost an average of 8 IQ points between ages 13 and 38. The lost mental abilities didn’t fully return in those who quit marijuana as adults. Those who started smoking marijuana as adults didn’t show notable IQ declines….] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

Fact #3- Babies born to marijuana users will experience several health and cognitive issues.

[…Children exposed to marijuana in the womb have an increased risk of problems with attention,11 memory, and problem-solving compared to unexposed children. Also indicated are breathing problems, increased heart rate, increased problems with attention and memory, intense nausea and vomiting in long-term adult users….] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

Fact #4- The official stance of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is that more research must be done to determine both the health benefits and the risks. https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm421168.htm#use

Fact #5– Herbs have used for healing purposes since the dawn of time. As with any herb, the use of marijuana for its healing properties will have differing results for each person. Every individuals DNA is different.  People who are in pain are looking for relief. However, marijuana is not a cure-all, even for the conditions listed. While some have experienced great relief, others have had violent reactions that required emergency room treatment.

Fact#6 – when searching the internet for facts on auto accidents in states that have already legalized marijuana, one thing is clear; it is hard to locate the actual facts.  Chief research officer of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said, “Worries that legalized marijuana is increasing crash rates aren’t misplaced,” said David Zuby. “The HLDI’s findings on the early experience in Colorado, Oregon and Washington should give other states eyeing legalization pause.” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/legal-pot-and-car-crashes-yes-theres-a-link/

 

Conclusion

As opioid use has become an epidemic around the country, many are looking to marijuana to fill the gap. Take a moment to think about what could happen from the passage of this law as it is written now:

  • Unborn children could be negatively affected. Long-term, there is a potential that more children will be harmed than those who will be helped
  • The roads could become more dangerous
  • Municipalities will not be able to change or restrict zoning laws to decide where they would allow retail marijuana outlets to be located
  • Employers are not properly protected

 

This is not intended to be an exhaustive article on marijuana nor can it be. It is a complex subject with many variables. However, CBD oil is already available in Oklahoma and has been for quite some time. That means that those who want it for medical purposes, while on a limited basis already have it available.

There is tremendous pressure upon the public to vote in favor of State Question  788 and very little information made available about the  about  how passage of this law  could  affect the public, hence this article.

There are many variables and unknowns regarding the long-term effects on the society as a whole. Will it be better? Will it be worse?

 

There is simply no hurry to pass this State Question at this time. It would be in the best interest of the public to allow other states to pass marijuana legislation and then study the results. If the results warrant it, the legislative branch can thoughtfully craft a more comprehensive law that will help those in need while providing needed protection for children, employers, municipalities at the same time.

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