Last week Liberty on Tap hosted an informational gathering for SQ 788, a ballot initiative measure to legalize medical cannabis in Oklahoma. The vote for SQ 788 will take place on June 26, 2018. One of our speakers, a member of the Vote Yes on SQ 788 PAC, was Shawn Jenkins.
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
- Dax Ewbank
- Joanna Francisco
- Clinton Wiles
- 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!
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.
Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma
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.
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.
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.
I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker at the Metro Tulsa Civitan Club’s weekly meeting today. Joanna Francisco, secretary of Drug Policy Reform Network, accompanied me. I spoke about cannabis legalization. I briefly discussed the war on drugs, how cannabis is medicine, and who the true victims of prohibition are. Someone even brought brownies so this was a fun crowd! Everyone at the meeting was genuinely interested in the issue. They asked excellent questions and I hope that they share what they learned with their family and friends.
During my talk, I mentioned the story of two Oklahoma girls, Jaqie Angel Warrior and Avagrace Spencer. Jaqie Angel and her family traveled to Colorado this weekend and Jaqie received her first dose of CBD oil. Here is an update from her mom, Brittany:
“Jaqie received her 1st dose of medicine yesterday afternoon…Yay! Its been a journey to say the least and right now we are just trying to get settled in and rest. The medical marijuana oil is already working! Yes, I said already. Just with 2 doses I’ve already noticed more alertness. She can see my face better and is more full of life. I know we made the right decision to do this for her.
I spoke to Mary Fallin’s director yesterday, Mr. Cody. He laughed at me as I cried to him on the phone telling him we wanted to return home with Jaqie. It burnt me up inside. The phone call was recorded and will be released by the week’s end. All of our friends and supporters feel free to call Fallin’s office and ask for her public response in regards to my letter to her about baby Jaqie.
Our family is blessed and happy to be here giving Jaqie the medicine she needs! BUT, at the same time this is very lonely for us. We have no one here. The kids have been crying because they miss their friends and school and they just want to go back to their home. This is so heartbreaking for me as a mom. But at least Jaqie Angel has access and is receiving the medical marijuana oil she needs. This is the most important factor in all this and I know things in Oklahoma will change soon. It’s my personal mission in life to see to it.”
Meanwhile, Avagrace is still waiting. She cannot travel to Colorado unless her mother and father legally separate as he is in the military.
Why does a family need to separate, uproot and leave behind their home, support network, and jobs to receive life saving medicine for their children that is available across an arbitrary line? Why are they pleading to exercise their very basic rights? Who is accountable for this gross infringement upon their rights? If a parent was withholding life saving medicine to their child, how would they be treated? How about when the government does it? Should government dictate what treatments people are allowed to use or should that be a decision made by the individual and their health care provider?
When will this injustice upon the people of Oklahoma end?
Lisa Bowman – President Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma
If you would like us to speak to your group please contact us. 918-609-3095 DrugPolicyOK@gmail.com