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Weed Foes Falsely Claim “Millions of Industry Dollars” Brought Medical Marijuana to Oklahoma

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Weed Foes Falsely Claim “Millions of Industry Dollars” Brought Medical Marijuana to Oklahoma

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Kevin Sabet’s Project SAMUEL* has a propaganda fundraising arm known as SAM Action. Following last month’s passage of a very liberal medical marijuana initiative in Oklahoma, SAM Action has sent out pitch that reveals the desperation of the anti-marijuana organization.

“By now I am sure that you have heard about the recent developments out of Oklahoma,” begins the email. “Medical marijuana was legalized in the state as a result of millions of marijuana industry dollars being dumped into a ballot measure.”

That’s a straight out lie.

According to campaign finance records in the state of Oklahoma, two committees had organized in support of the initiative, known as State Question 788. Those two committees spent a little less than $145,000 on the campaign.

Certainly not “millions.” And no indication that any of that meager sum came from any “marijuana industry.”

Even when you consider that the opponents spent over $815,000 in their failed campaign against the measure, there is still not even a single “million” spent over the Oklahoma medical marijuana vote.

Sabet crows about keeping the law “narrow,” which means emergency regulations that ban marijuana smoking and require a pharmacist at every dispensary.

Here we have an initiative that opponents outspent proponents by $4.88 to $1, issuing scary ads that threatened college freshmen growing 12 pounds of weed in their dorm rooms. An initiative that is the first since California to allow medical marijuana for any condition and the first this decade to allow all patients the right to home grow. An initiative that goes further than many West Coast states by issuing explicit protections for employment, housing, child care, medical procedures, and firearms licensing of medical marijuana patients.

An initiative that passed 57 percent to 43 percent.

So, facing overwhelming public support, Sabet does what prohibitionists always do. First, throw up all the regulatory roadblocks possible. Since patients can grow their own, banning smoking is impossible. What the regulation will do is ban the sale of smokable marijuana. Add that pharmacist on site who cannot conspire with anyone to distribute Schedule I substances and you have a recipe for making dispensaries unworkable without having to actually ban them.

Next will come the attempts to kill those home grow rights with so-called “halo rules” – if a patient lives close enough to a dispensary, they’ll be forbidden to grow. Those who remain will be asked to comply with inspections and registration and seed-to-sale tracking and fees, fees, fees, to make it as tough as possible for them to continue.

Then there will be odious requirements of the doctors who may recommend. Maybe only a certain percentage of their business may be marijuana recommendations. Perhaps they’ll have to register with the state and take cannabis training classes. There could even be automatic medical board reviews for doctors after a certain number of recommendations per year.

Fortunately, these small states may be leading the next wave in marijuana reform – legalization as a fix to bungled medical marijuana laws.

Currently, activists in Oklahoma are preparing signatures for a legalization initiative. The low signature thresholds make it a strong possibility they could be on the ballot this November. Much of this measure’s support could come from medical supporters issuing a referendum on the state’s slow-walking of medical marijuana.

It’s already playing out that way in North Dakota. Activists there shocked the nation by passing medical marijuana with almost a 2-to-1 majority. But the state officials there have engaged in some of these slow-walking tactics that have enraged the community. They are explicitly favoring a new legalization initiative as the remedy for the state government ignoring the will of the people on medical marijuana. North Dakota’s threshold is below 20,000, making it entirely possible that North Dakota and Oklahoma join Michigan on the fall ballot for statewide legalization.

Who would ever have thought North Dakota and Oklahoma would legalize marijuana before New York?


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