Oklahoma may not be the first state that people think of when it comes to medical cannabis, but technically Oklahoma has passed very restrictive medical cannabis reform legislation.
In April 2015 Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill which legalized possession of high-CBD cannabis oil (less than 0.3% THC) for young people suffering from severe epilepsy disorders.
The law was expanded in 2016 when the protections were extended to adults and people suffering from “spasticity due to multiple sclerosis or due to paraplegia, intractable nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation with chronic wasting diseases.”
Oklahoma’s law does not provide protection to people suffering from any other condition, nor does it allow a system in which patients can grow their own cannabis or purchase it legally.
Countless residents of Oklahoma would benefit from medical cannabis but instead, they are prohibited from using it.
One of those patients is Andy.
Suffering patients like Andy are left on the outside looking in
Andy is a lifelong resident of Oklahoma and suffers from ongoing pain issues relating to an amputated leg from a vehicle accident he was involved in about a decade ago.
The pain Andy deals with ranges from nagging to outright unbearable. Andy also suffers from diabetes which complicates things and can increase nerve pain.
Phantom limb pain and residual nerve pain is something that Andy battles on a daily basis, and he has found that cannabis helps manage the pain.
Unfortunately, cannabis is not an option, at least not legally.
Andy has traveled to states where cannabis is widely available to qualifying patients and has long dreamed of having safe, legal access to medical cannabis.
He wants to know that the medicine he is consuming is free from pesticides and in a format that helps him regulate his dosage to exactly what he needs.
But, that seems like such a far-off dream that Andy rarely allows himself to think about it.
Hopefully, things change very soon for patients like Andy.
Oklahoma to vote on medical cannabis this summer, finally
For a brief time, it looked like Oklahoma would be voting on medical cannabis in 2016. But due to a legal challenge and delays in a resolution, Oklahoma’s initiative did not make the ballot.
However, just because the initiative did not make the 2016 ballot did not mean that the signature drive was for not.
After the legal issue was resolved the initiative’s vote date was later determined to be the 2018 primary, which occurs in June.
Oklahomans for Health, which is running the campaign to legalize medical cannabis in Oklahoma, has put forth a very progressive medical cannabis measure.
Because the initiative will appear on a primary ballot versus a General Election ballot it could affect the chances of the initiative passing.
Typically voter turnout is lower in primary elections. It will be on advocates to help get out the vote and educate voters on the benefits of the initiative.
A poll from January found that 61.8% of likely voters would approve the medical cannabis initiative.
What is the current cannabis law in Oklahoma?
As previously stated Oklahoma has limited protections for select patients, but even then only for low-THC/high-CBD cannabis oil.
For the rest of Oklahoma’s citizens, the laws are extremely harsh:
- Possession of any amount punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine
- Selling any amount of cannabis is a felony punishable by potentially up to life in prison
- Distribution within 2000 feet of a school, public parks, or public housing doubles the period of incarceration
- Making your own cannabis concentrates is a felony punishable by potentially up to life in prison
- Any cannabis conviction results in a 6-month driver license suspension
When patients like Andy choose to break Oklahoma’s cannabis law, it’s a very serious decision that they are making.
No patient should have to deal with so much fear and risk so much just to obtain and consume an effective medicine that is safer than most pharmaceuticals.
What you can do to help legalize medical cannabis in Oklahoma
Here’s how Oklahoma residents can help the effort to legalize medical cannabis in Oklahoma:
1.Volunteer for the campaign
2.Sign up for alerts from the campaign
4.Donate to the campaign
5.Contact Oklahoma lawmakers to let them know that if/when the initiative passes, to respect the will of the vote
If you are able to do one or more of the above, please do your part so that patients like Andy can have safe, legal access to medical cannabis!