Month: December 2014

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