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Open Door Policy - May 16, 2016
On Saturday, May 14, Oklahomans for Health kicked off their effort to collect the signatures of 65,987 registered voters to allow for a change to state statutes to legalize the use of medicinal marijuana in Oklahoma.
Most Oklahomans have seen a loved one suffer the devastating effects of cancer and the side effects of what chemotherapy can do to the body. Others have also experienced watching loved ones face what a morphine drip will do to the body for those on end-of-life care. Use of prescription pain killers can have an overwhelming negative impact on bodily organs, such as the liver.
Patients who have been allowed the option of treatment with marijuana and derivatives have shown great success and improved health from conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, arthritis, chronic pain, glaucoma, AIDS/HIV, Alzheimer's, asthma, Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis. Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN has endorsed treatment programs associated with marijuana, as have two Surgeons General for the United States.
The Oklahoma Legislature over the past two years has taken steps to allow the legalized the use of prescription cannabinoid oil for patients of all ages who suffer from epileptic seizures. This advancement has proven effective for Oklahomans of all ages and allowed them to seek treatment in their home state rather than being forced to move to another location which allows this legally.
Currently, 24 states and the District of Columbia allow for the legal use of marijuana under the care of a medical doctor. This has grown in recent years as studies have shown the benefits of regulated use for specific medical conditions. Further studies will be allowed under the Oklahoma proposal as researchers will be able to legally possess marijuana for conducting experimental tests to determine additional medical benefits.
Under the State Question 788 proposal, a medical doctor can issue a license to a patient for the possession of marijuana for medical treatment. If the patient is a minor, it will require licensing by two medical doctors. Doctors and their issuance of licenses will be regulated by the state under this proposal and all costs associated with oversight will be covered under the licensing fee and a seven percent tax. Municipalities will also be allowed to issue an additional tax should that be voted upon locally.
Any revenue collected by the state beyond the cost of oversight of the medical marijuana program will be split with seventy-five percent going to Oklahoma schools and twenty-five percent to programs within the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health.
I would ask you to please review the facts behind this very serious effort and look at what successes have been shown to help with treatments before you make a decision. If you decide this change to allow doctors to make health care decisions is better than leaving it up to politicians and bureaucrats, please sign this petition within the next 90 days and vote yes in November. You can find locations to sign the petition and more information at OklahomansForHealth.com
(Joe Dorman served House District 65 as a State Representative for 12 years and was the 2014 Democratic nominee for Governor of Oklahoma. He is serving as a volunteer board member for Oklahomans for Health)