The following account is submitted by Drug Policy Reform Network board member, Dax Ewbank, who attended the hearing at the capitol.
Here is my takeaway from the CBD Hearing held today at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
I was happy that the hearing was held, there were at least 7 or 8 legislators present, which is far more than I’ve ever seen show up to discuss this issue. Kudos should definitely go out to Jon Echols for putting a forum together that legislators took the time to show up for. He did a great job.
The testimony provided by the two neurologists in the room was compelling. The testimony of these two individuals alone should be plenty to realize that we must change our state’s policy with regard to Cannabis, particularly CBD.
Several families also presented and gave heart wrenching testimony of the struggles they face not only dealing with the deadly seizures of their child, but also with our state’s laws. They are all frightened of what might happen to them if they choose to come home with the medicine they have found to provide relief to their children. Two of the families that testified both gave stories of almost overnight and miraculous relief provided by whole plant cannabis oil extract. The importance higher concentrations of THC was also stressed, as each child responds differently to the oil and its concentrations.
The final presenter was the Director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. I was glad that he felt compelled to present, however his presentation was not received well by me or many others in attendance. I don’t know if it was intentional, but his presentation came off as basically threatening the families there saying that if they pursue anything other than a low THC, CBD only policy then they would get nothing. I was not the only one in the room that took his presentation in this way. After the meeting, I asked him how it felt being the one pointing a gun at these families, and he of course denied doing any such thing. I told him that it is the fear of law enforcement alone that is oppressing these families to the point of either not providing medicine to their child, or living like a refugee to do so. I asked if he would allow these families to bring this medicine home, and he explicitly said no, because it is illegal (while still denying being the one holding the gun). I realize that his job is to uphold the law, but I hope that he finds himself in a moral dilemma with regard to this issue, being compelled by the law to act immorally against peaceful people.
I propose that the moral dilemma that the Director finds himself in can only be resolved by his joining our fight to decriminalize marijuana and help us through his office to provide safe access to Cannabis to those who need and want it.
The good news is that this was a step in the right direction, the hearing was well attended, and even the OBN is willing to make accommodations (although very limited ones) to help see some form of treatment available to these families is a very positive sign. There is still a great amount of work to do, and many obstacles to overcome. This may be a blessing in disguise, since the truth is on our side. If the activists can remain engaged and press this issue, even through all of these hurdles, the end result will be a nearly bulletproof presentation of the truth that we already know. So the bullheadedness of our activist community butting up against the reluctance of our legislator will only prove to meet out the truth in a way that ultimately cannot be refuted. It will take too long, and some children will die in the process, but at the end of the day, when Oklahoma finally comes to the realization of the ridiculousness of marijuana prohibition it will do so completely.
The CBD only law will still result in most of the families in the room today to have to live as refugees because of the THC limitations. Even the doctors who are wanting to do the research are afraid, acknowledging that they can’t even recommend a schedule 1 substance (marijuana) as a treatment without facing legal repercussions.
All in all, we have the wrong people in charge deciding the who, what, when, where, and why of the scientific and medical decisions that need to be made with regard to Cannabis. Instead of politicians, doctors and patients and people in general should be free to seek this out on their own without having to fear being arrested or having their children taken from them. Politicians should focus their laws not on the banning of plants and substances, but instead on how the law responds to those who choose to defraud or harm others. To me the impossibly complicated nuances of drug policy illuminate this truth all the more, I hope others begin to see it as well.
There are two events upcoming that you may be interested in. For the Stillwater event, advocates and activists are encouraged to attend.
“The Naked Truth About Marijuana”
Wed., Nov. 19, 7pm
OSU Student Union Little Theater
All marijuana supporters need to come to this free presentation to be certain our opinions are heard by OSU students. The presentation is linked to the Drug Free Action Alliance. The website (drugfreeactionalliance.org) has anti medical marijuana and anti reform statements. I think it is very important for marijuana supporters to be strongly represented at this event.
Monday, November 24, 2014, 9am
Oklahoma State Capitol Bldg., Room 535
2300 N. Lincoln
Oklahoma City, OK 73105-4885
The 3 House studies on medical marijuana will be heard at the same time the Senate will be hearing their interim studies on the same issue.
Oregon and Alaska became the third and fourth states to legalize marijuana.
In Oklahoma, Fallin has won the gubernatorial election. She is very much opposed to supporting and protecting one of our most basic rights to use cannabis. Meanwhile, medical cannabis refugees from Oklahoma are still stuck in Colorado, separated from their families and support network. The cannabis freedom battle continues on in this state. Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma will be busy working with legislators, educating people, and supporting other initiatives in the coming months and years. Oklahomans For Health has regrouped and will be working on another medical cannabis initiative. It will take much of our time and resources to accomplish this.
A membership with Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma, a non profit organization, is only $10/annually. As a member, you can attend meetings, join in the discussion and become eligible for election onto our board. We also accept donations to support our efforts to change drug policy in Oklahoma that supports and protects the rights of the individual. We are a small group of volunteers and all donations and fees go directly to the operation of the organization and costs incurred with our activism.
Changing drug policy and abolishing unjust drug laws is more than a drug issue. It is a human rights issue.
Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma will have a booth at this year’s Peace Fest. Please consider attending.
2014 Fall Peace Festival
Saturday, November 8th
10 am to 4 p.m
Civic Center Music Hall of Mirrors in downtown Oklahoma City
201 N Walker Ave.
The Peace Festival celebrates groups working for peace, human rights, civil rights, economic justice, environmental sustainability, permaculture, vegetarianism, animals rights, urban garden and fair trade & home-made goods.
Governor Fallin’s press release today announcing her support of medicinal use of CBD oil is a mere breadcrumb. While this low THC oil could benefit a very small demographic of children, it limits life saving, life improving medicine to others and continues to victimize a large group of people who suffer from cancer, cancer treatment side effects, veterans with PTSD, multiple sclerosis patients, chronic pain sufferers, and children who require higher doses of THC to control seizures.
Twenty three states with legal medical marijuana have already proven the effectiveness and benefits of medicinal cannabis for a number of ailments. For Oklahoma legislators to propose such strict, limited trials on CBD only use is a step backward. There have been numerous studies and ongoing research across the country beyond CBD only oil and Oklahoma families who have become medical marijuana refugees to Colorado have given personal testimony which was presented at the state capitol along with doctors and researchers. Governor Fallin and all but two representatives were missing in action during those presentations. The Governor should be protecting the rights and liberty of the people of Oklahoma. Instead she is dictating who can and cannot exercise their right to health freedom and medical treatment. To regulate and enforce such a limited bill would be a nightmare and resource hog.
Oklahomans for Health has created a petition initiative that supports medicinal marijuana access for everyone who needs it which will result in fewer people being locked up for exercising a fundamental right.
Fallin’s statement is disingenuous and does not support the people of Oklahoma. She flip flops on issues based on the potential votes she could gain. If she, and legislators, performed in accordance with their proper roles, marijuana prohibition would have been repealed a long time ago.
She has repeatedly denied a conference with a very outspoken mother whose two year old daughter, Jaqie Angel Warrior, has become a medical marijuana refugee in Colorado. Fallin has not proven herself a servant of the people but rather a government expanding, liberty encroaching, politician.
Her timing of this statement is also curious considering Oklahomans for Health is wrapping up signature gathering this week and will be submitting signatures on Friday.
While we are encouraged to see legislators ready to have a conversation on this topic, they are lagging behind as the people of Oklahoma have taken steps forward and become proactive on this issue despite the obstacles and hurdles they have had to overcome. Whether the required number of signatures is met or not, the people have made a clear statement that it is time to change Oklahoma’s drug policy.
To support a truly compassionate and reasonable policy, please sign the petition. There are only two days left to do so. You can find petition sites on their website: Oklahomans for Health
Please contact Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma if you have any further questions or comments at DrugPolicyOK@gmail.com.
There are now less than 30 days for the signatures to be submitted.
Oklahomans for Health are on the road reaching every place they can. If you would like to help with these efforts or find out where to sign please visit http://www.oklahomansforhealth.com/
The last count nearly two weeks ago was 75,000 signatures, that is about half of the required but to account for invalid signatures they must collect at least twice the required of 156,000.
On Sunday, July 13, a fundraiser for Jaqie Angel Warrior was held at LaFortune Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jaqie is a 24 month old baby who is receiving CBD oil out of Colorado to treat her seizures related to epilepsy. The family must travel back and forth to Colorado as they have a home, family, job, and support network in Oklahoma. They are like so many other medical cannabis refugees who must live temporarily in Colorado which often creates an even greater hardship on the family.
This is the second fundraiser that has been held for Jaqie Angel. The event included a raffle, BBQ, and guest speakers. Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma brought in the speakers which included Chip Paul – Chairman of Oklahomans for Health, Jay Ramey – Tulsa Attorney, and DPRNOK board member and former gubernatorial candidate, Dax Ewbank.
Mr. Paul gave an update on the current medical marijuana initiative which now has just 30 days to collect the necessary signatures needed to be on the ballot in November. The most recent count was 75,000 signatures collected but that does not include the uncounted petitions yet to be turned in. 156,000 valid signatures are required. In order to ensure that number is met, they need to collect 250,000-300,000.
Tulsa attorney, Jay Ramey is very outspoken about police abuse of power and speaks frequently on knowing our rights regarding police encounters. He presented a condensed version of his ‘Know Your Rights’ speech and distributed his ‘Know Your Rights’ business cards.
Dax Ewbank recently campaigned in the gubernatorial primary and is a Drug Policy Reform Network board member. He presented a talk that encompassed the injustices committed in the name of the war on drugs, the insensibility of current drug policy, and philosophical points regarding marijuana use and the fundamental right to use it without fear of being incarcerated, having children removed from their homes, and lives torn apart.
Oklahomans for Health volunteers were present and a petition was available to sign. If anyone is interested in volunteering or needs petition locations please visit Oklahomans For Health website.
The documentary film crew attended and recorded footage and conducted interviews. Local media, KJRH Channel 2 Tulsa aired a report on the event which you can view here.
We are grateful to have been part of this event as we continue to work on educating the public and changing the drug policy of Oklahoma to support personal choice, personal responsibility, health freedom, and individual rights.