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Medical marijuana could get a look in Oklahoma

Filed by KOSU News in Feature, Local News.
September 4, 2012

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The following was written by KOSU’s Michael Cross.

Marijuana, Cannabis, pot. Whatever you call it, it’s legal for medicinal use in 17 states and the District of Columbia. But, not in Oklahoma. Well, one lawmaker wants to at least study what would happen if Oklahoma made a move to approve medical marijuana…

Attorney Chad Moody’s office in downtown Oklahoma City stand out from most lawyers offices with images of the iconic marijuana leaf posted everywhere.

The self-proclaimed Drug Lawyer says he sees ten to 20 cases a week dealing with marijuana and has about 100 open files at any given time.

It’s safe to say Moody’s very passionate about legalizing medical marijuana.

“Well I’m tired of seeing people’s live destroyed over what should just be a simple freedom issue. I’m libertarian. I like laws that are just there to protect us from people who do harm, and there’s nothing harmful about marijuana.”

But, State Senator AJ Griffin disagrees.

Griffin spent several years working and running a treatment center for addicts and at risk children.

The state Department of Health shows 36-percent of kids admitted to smoking pot in 2011

Griffin worries that number will grow if the state allows for the medicinal use of marijuana.

“We have evidence with other prescription medications that are being misused. Even though it would be prescribed for medical purpose, it doesn’t mean that adolescents are others individuals are not going to misuse that substance.”

Despite her strong opposition to medical marijuana, Griffin welcomes the chance to look at the issue in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

Griffin sits on the committee along with the woman who asked for the interim study.

Senator Constance Johnson has introduced three medical marijuana bills in the past six years and has yet to get a hearing on it.

The Oklahoma City Democrat says she’s fighting against what she calls the failed wars on drugs and crime and the demonization of marijuana which stretches back nearly a hundred years.

“Whoever the powers that be at the time got to make claims about marijuana and how they associated it with black musicians and all of these images they put out there of black men raping white women because they were under the influence of marijuana.”

Johnson says she’s pleased the interim study was approved by President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, but whether it actually gets a hearing is up to the Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee.

Senator Brian Crain hasn’t made a decision yet and wants to meet more with Senator Johnson to make sure the study isn’t just one sided.

“I want to see medical researchers. I want to see learned documents. I want someone to explain that this is a drug that ought to be made available just like any other drug.”

The American Medical Association wants further studies of marijuana.

But, the AMA doesn’t endorse medical cannabis programs or the legalization of marijuana saying there isn’t enough scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of marijuana.

The Oklahoma State Medical Association shares the belief of the A-M-A and stands ready to say so if called to an interim study.

Chairman Crain says he opposes medical marijuana as it appears to be just a stepping stone for the decriminalization of marijuana across the board.

A view shared by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Here’s spokesman Mark Woodard.

“Even the pot smokers themselves recognize and openly admit this is not about medicine and compassion. It is about getting to smoke marijuana without fear of police intervention.”

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or NORML has statistics showing thousands of people a year have been arrested for marijuana possession.

Woodard says not all arrests result in jail and those who do are there after multiple offenses or have pleaded down from a much stricter trafficking violation after being caught with large amounts of the drug.

“So they may get a two year sentence for marijuana possession when they actually had several pounds in their truck and they were selling it. But they agreed with the prosecutors for a lesser sentence that they would plead from trafficking or possession with intent to distribute.”

Woodard says the biggest argument against the legalization of marijuana is there are other drugs to handle issues such as nausea and pain.

25-year army veteran Charles knows all too well about those other drugs.

He’s been dealing with pain for years because of his time serving the country and has a large bottle on his coffee table with different prescriptions.

For him, the debate is simple.

“You either believe in it or you don’t and I’m a believer in it because I know it helps me. I don’t have to take all these narcotics.”

Charles takes 55 milligrams of oxycodone every day to deal with his pain which comes with its own set of side effects.

“This is a slow death, these medication, these pills, and I’ve got eight other types of medications. I believe in cannabis as being a cure, a medical property for what ails me. I’ve got a lot. I’m broke in a lot ways, I’ll just say it that way.”

Despite opposition to medical marijuana, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs does welcome an open discussion on the issue.

Senate Health and Human Services Chairman Crain says if he makes a decision on the interim study it would have to be held in early October to avoid conflict with the upcoming elections.

14 Responses to “Medical marijuana could get a look in Oklahoma”

  1. Charles says:

    Michael, Thank You for allowing me to State my Case on such a Large platform

  2. Tiffany says:

    Legalize Pot !! (:
    One Love<3

  3. Norma Sapp says:

    Thanks for asking Senator Crain about when he thought the study may happen. That is the closest time frame I have seen so far.

  4. 215 says:

    I wonder what OK would do if all the marijuana smokers moved to 215 friendly places like CA. I know one thing they would lose a lot of tax money.
    My husband & I did… and they lost big.

  5. Vicki says:

    The reports show a big problem with perscription drug abuse and overdoses in Oklahoma. If MM were allowed here, the more heavy drugs would not be perscribed and therefore would not be available to be abused. The savings alone should be considered. The savings to the State for prosecutions as well as the savings for Medicare, Medicaid, Insurance Companies as well as a savings for people who are on Assistance that still have to pay 10% for their Medications. I myself am on several pain medications and will be for life. I would prefer to be able to grow my own medication. That way I know that my plants would not have any type of chemicals added. This would also save $6000 a year just in drugs. and with an est. $9600 in income a year I might be able to survive once my Workmans Comp. case has ended. Otherwise it looks like I might go hungry a few years down the line.

  6. Kobayashi_Maru says:

    O f course Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs are going to have a problem with ANY kind of legalization, IT'S THEIR JOBS THAT ARE ON THE LINE! They'll say whatever and do whatever they can to be able to continue there existence and oppression!!

  7. Sunil Aggarwal says:

    I just wrote to Senator Crain volunteering to help provide testimony to the committee. (i'm a physician-researcher)

  8. Anna says:

    If you all support this cause please sign the petition here!

  9. ChuckVaughan says:

    At this time, we are just asking them to legalize medical cannabis, not full legalization. The senate should be eager to help the Oklahomans that can benefit from this, not make excuses and dream up reasons why they won't. Failure to act on this and implement the plan that we have created for them would simply tell me that they either don't want to do their job, or they are incapable of doing their job, because it's not like we are asking for them to make it legal for everyone to walk the sidewalks smoking joints. Let's hope they do what's right for Oklahomans, by putting cannabis in the hands of our doctors and out of the hands of the politicians.

  10. ChuckVaughan says:

    Please ask everyone you know to contact Senator Crain and let him know that you approve of legalizing medical cannabis. This kind of chance rarely comes along, so we need to make sure everybody calls. If we don't take advantage of it this time, it may be forever before we get another chance. It only takes a minute to call and leave a message on his recorder! (405) 521-5620

  11. Jim says:

    what can we do to help this get passed?

  12. 918 ADVOCATE says:

    "The state Department of Health shows 36-percent of kids admitted to smoking pot in 2011
    Griffin worries that number will grow if the state allows for the medicinal use of marijuana."

    Seriously, when are politicians going to stop making bullshit, baseless, ridiculous, propagandizing claims like these? It's not going to be BECAUSE they smoke pot, and anyone who claims such is a outright LIAR. If you are in jail, or a youth program for committing a crime, then STOP COMMITTING CRIMES. Using marijuana is a god given right! NOT A CRIME. THE CRIME IS BEING A LYING POLITICIAN.

    “We have evidence with other prescription medications that are being misused. Even though it would be prescribed for medical purpose, it doesn’t mean that adolescents are others individuals are not going to misuse that substance.”

    Unlike with those other, taxable, big pharma benefitting, corporate mules, USE does not mean ABUSE. Ignorant conservative JACKASSES.

  13. Barbara Noland says:

    Thank you, Senator Crain. How can we help you to get this passed? Man made booze and prescription drugs. God made cannabis. Gen. 1:29 talks about Gods intent when He made herbs.

  14. Rod W says:

    I just ran across this article. Today there are over 1,700 confirmed individules going to the capital for a Rally/Lobby Day

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