Annual Meeting – January 2015

Our annual meeting and general election was held in Tulsa at The Rusty Crane restaurant. We had a great turnout and several new members joined the organization.

Here is the current list of the Board of Directors and offices held.

  • Lisa Bowman
    President
  • Dax Ewbank
    Vice President
  • Joanna Francisco
    Secretary
  • Clinton Wiles
    Treasurer
  • Tina Kelly
    Board of Directors
  • Frank Grove
    Board of Directors
  • Danny Buntin
    Board of Directors
  • Mary West
    Board of Directors

Welcome new members and board members!

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Joanna Francisco, Larry Kelly, Lisa Bowman, Tina Kelly, Clinton Wiles, Frank Grove, Jeff Pickens, Danny Buntin, Nancy Humphreys.

Joanna Francisco, Larry Kelly, Lisa Bowman, Tina Kelly, Clinton Wiles, Frank Grove, Jeff Pickens, Danny Buntin, Nancy Humphreys.

Secretary Joanna and New Member Nancy.

Secretary Joanna and New Member Nancy.

Annual Meeting – January 10th, 2015

Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma will hold its annual meeting Saturday, January 10th, 1pm-2:30 pm at The Rusty Crane, 109 North Detroit Ave, Tulsa, OK.
(DPRNOK is not funding this event. All expenses incurred are the responsibility of the individual.)

You are invited to attend as we discuss plans for the new year. Board and officer elections will also take place. If you are not yet a member, joining is easy and the dues are just $10 annually. If you would like to attend the meeting, you may join at that time. As a member, you may participate in discussion at regular meetings and are also eligible for election to the board. All offices are filled by board members.

2015 will be an active year regarding drug policy reform especially marijuana laws. It is not a matter of “if” but “when” the tide turns to support individual freedom and stop victimizing peaceful people in Oklahoma. It will take much work though as there is definite push back from legislators. The CBD bill is a tiny step but we must use that momentum to continue to educate and raise awareness of the benefits of marijuana for all while emphasizing the injustice and inefficiency of our current drug policy.

Fortunately, there were some victories in other states this year as well as change in federal policy regarding medical marijuana. It is only a matter of time but will require consistent activism.

All who are able and willing to volunteer are encouraged to do so. There are many ways to help and we can guide you in a direction that will work best for you. Please contact us with any concerns or questions you may have and we will be happy to help.

Oklahoma saw a surge in 2014 of activists working in various ways to change drug policy. Much was learned and despite some failures there were also many successes. 2015 is the year to unify and strengthen efforts.

If you would like to support the work of our volunteers, please consider donating or becoming a member.

Thank you,

Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma

 

Victim of War on Drugs – Darrell Hayden: Life Sentence for Marijuana

A horrible human rights tragedy has been occurring in the “land of the free”. It is difficult to know what to do or how to alleviate the pain and suffering of the victims. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that this human rights violation is perpetuated by the very institution that was supposedly created to protect personal liberty. The guilty party is the US Federal Government followed by each state government that participates in such immoral acts. Ultimately, the actions fall on each individual who blindly follows orders and aggresses upon peaceful people and the person who has imagined he has a higher claim to another person’s life.

The stories never cease: a toddler dismembered, accidental killing of an innocent person or dog, children and adults denied life saving medicine for fear of being caged. Peaceful people who were acting well within their rights are kidnapped, their property and lives stolen, alienated from their family, to live out the rest of their life behind bars.

Recently, another story has crossed my path. It is that of Darrell Hayden. He is currently serving two life sentences for growing a plant…marijuana. That is all. He has never harmed anyone. His daughter, Lisa, says he was a caring man who often helped those in his community. She said that he helped older people in the area by checking on them and doing small jobs.

“Mostly, I remember he was always giving to his friends,” she said.

Darrell is victim of the “three strikes” rule. He was convicted of growing marijuana twice. The first time he served 60 days, the second time he served 5 months. It went from that to two life sentences. While any time served is hardly justifiable, two life sentences is an absolute travesty.

Making a difficult situation worse is Darrell’s heart condition. He underwent bypass surgery in November and his family was not notified beforehand. A time when a man needs his family nearby he was denied that right. His “crime” does not justify living the rest of his life in a cell, being moved from state to state with little to no contact with his loved ones.

Darrell was born and raised in Loretto, Kentucky. He graduated from St. Francis High School, and in June of 1968, he enlisted in the Army. He served a tour in Vietnam. After returning home, he worked at the Ford Motor Company, did farm work, constructed small buildings and raised horses.

Darrell is currently in the 16th year of his sentence. He has four children and many grandchildren, some of whom have only known him being in prison.

Based on the guidelines of the Clemency Project (https://www.clemencyproject2014.org/), Lisa and her cousin created a petition (SIGN here) seeking clemency for Darrell. While the petition has already been submitted with over 40,000 signatures, they encourage anyone interested to still sign it. They have also created a Facebook group.

While there are so many victims of the War on the Drugs, this case is particularly disheartening and unjustifiable. I encourage you to share this story. It represents so many others whose basic rights have been violated, whose families are denied precious time with their loved ones. Growing cannabis is not a legitimate crime. Stealing a peaceful person’s life is.

Further reading:
Fighting for Another Chance
This Vietnam Veteran Has Spent 16 Years in Prison Because He Grew Weed

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Deadline for New Bill Requests – December 12th

To follow up on the Interim studies allowing medical trials in the state of Oklahoma for the use of non-intoxicating CBD Oil for severe seizure disorders in children, you are encouraged to contact your representatives and voice your support for such actions. While CBD oil alone is far too limiting for the many others who suffer from current Oklahoma drug policy, it is important to continue the conversation and perhaps encourage your representative to develop a more encompassing bill that will support personal freedom and allow peaceful people to make personal choices without fear of incarceration. The deadline for new bill requests is December 12th.

Health and treatment plans are ultimately the individual’s right to choose and such decisions should be left to the patient and doctor to develop. CBD only treatment will benefit a very small percentage of those who need cannabis treatment and a limiting bill such as this will still leave many families living as refugees in other states where they are able to receive the treatment they need. A very large demographic that could benefit is left out.

This is the link to the Oklahoma legislature that you can use to find your representatives’ contact information.

Next year will be a very busy time for us. Your continued support and membership will help our volunteers continue to work to change drug policy in Oklahoma to alleviate the suffering and victimization that the war on drugs has created.

You may join or donate. USPS options are available in the links as well.

Thank you,
Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma

CBD Hearing at Oklahoma State Capitol

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.

Dax Ewbank

Dax Ewbank

Events

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
Stillwater, OK,

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.

Interim Studies

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.

Victories and Next Steps

Oregon and Alaska became the third and fourth states to legalize marijuana.

http://touch.capitalgazette.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-81873295/

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.

Membership

Donate

Changing drug policy and abolishing unjust drug laws is more than a drug issue. It is a human rights issue.

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