While we were all bunkered away at home, counting the last of our $1,200 stimulus checks for elevated electric costs, gross grocery bills and terrible telecom bills, the Oklahoma legal system was quietly working toward taking medical marijuana back to being illegal.
HB3228 was authored by Senator Standridge and sponsored by Jon Echols of OKC to bring about some changes to how Oklahoma addresses patients, dispensaries, processing and medical marijuana and it was meant to make life easier. It was passed 90-6 by the Senate and it appeared to be something everyone could get happy about.
Some highlights of HB3228 were:
- If you were not in possession of a medical marijuana card, but you had up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana on you, it would no longer be a big deal. You would get a ticket of about $400 and a misdemeanor. You would go home.
- Folks from out of state could use their medical licenses to apply for an Oklahoma license, good for 30 days, without having to go through all the hassle of seeing a doctor, filing a lot of paperwork or doing anything too much, other than providing $100 to OMMA.
- MMJ applications and caregiver records would be sealed and treated with all the respect and care medical records under HIPAA are given. Police could not simply call and demand that your data be handed over for no real reason than to prosecute or look for a reason to prosecute. OMMA records would require a subpoena or search warrant.
- Dispensaries would be able to offer delivery of medications to patients within a 10-mile area.
- No physician could be unduly stigmatized or harassed for signing a medical marijuana license application.
- Patients could not be penalized by schools or landlords for cannabis use (unless it would be a problem under federal law).
- No parent could be denied child visitation or custody for using MMJ, nor would child endangerment be suggested because MMJ is being used as medical treatment by a parent.
- Conceal carry permits would not be withheld for MMJ patients.
- Food safety standards would be implemented for cannabis food products sold to dispensaries with 12 experts in MMJ acting as inspectors on how the process was handled
- It would be illegal for townships to redistrict or rezone to push out marijuana stores and shops.
There are, of course, more components to HB3228, but as it has been vetoed by Governor Stitt, we felt there was no reason to continue to cover the highlights of all we are going to miss out on.
Why did Governor Stitt veto 3228? We will not pretend to know what he is thinking, but some of his quotes have been:
“Adult use cannabis won’t help our state’s budget shortfall.” The Current Buzz begs to differ, Sir. In March, April and May, Oklahoma netted $7.8 mil, $9.7 mil and $11.6 mil in taxes respectively. If $29.1 million in three months is unnecessary, perhaps you are not quite the businessman you claim to be? If Oklahoma has no use for our MILLIONS in sales tax for MEDICAL cannabis, we should get a refund for all the times we have paid into those useless coffers (imagine if you needed a bottle of Advil and had to pay a 16% tax for it). Speaking of those tax dollars, has anyone seen where the money has gone?
Governor Stitt has claimed that HB3228 was poorly thought out, claiming that was his reason for not signing the bill, but we found no supporting evidence or documents where he elaborates on what exactly he does not like. What is more concerning is that after Stitt’s veto on May 20, there was no pushback from anyone in the Oklahoma House or Senate. The bill was dropped in its entirety then the House was sent home for Memorial Day recess.
Governor Stitt has made it clear that he is no fan of marijuana in Oklahoma. If you are not paying attention, medical cannabis could be de-legalized without your knowledge or consent with the stroke of a pen during a random event, like, say, a PANDEMIC for instance. You must pay attention to what our government is doing. Never assume your right to marijuana is final because you voted once.
Evidence of how fast Okie minds can change can be found in Senate Bill 313. In 2015, Oklahoma overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 313:
“Senate Bill 313 allows a person with a valid driver’s license to register to vote online. Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, authored this bill and several others designed to create an easier path to the ballot box. He said SB 313 ‘represents a landmark for election reform in this state.’” (Oklahoma Gazette)
As per an interview with Governor Stitt last month, mail-in voting will be honored as-is for this year’s presidential election during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, after November, 2020, Oklahoma residents will be required to have their mail-in ballots notarized, and other documentation will be required if you want to mail-in your vote for any reason, but if Oklahoma powers that be think you have no reason to stay home or you are missing a document, your mail-in ballot will be declined. That is how much a political system can change in a short amount of time. Never assume your rights are safe because you voted once for one thing.
Let us say here: We are NEVER telling you how to vote, just pay attention, stay informed, show up to vote. We are not ‘for’ or ‘against’ a party or idea, our purpose is always an effort to enlighten and educate. What you do with it is up to you. Stay aware.
How to find out what your government is up to:
To see what Oklahoma has in the pipeline for 2020, check out: