The effort to reform Oklahoma's drug policy is moving into high gear this winter. Like so many other issues where the lawmakers lose touch with the pulse of the people, this issue involves another voter initiative to bypass the elected officials, all together.
Two years ago the voters overwhelmingly decided that simple possession of some controlled substances without a prescription, is no longer a felony crime. It's still a misdemeanor, and real incarceration is still a penalty. The initiative also mandated the funding of drug treatment instead of more prisons.
This year the combined efforts of several organizations is calling for licensed physicians to have the option to treat some patients with more Cannabis byproducts. The current State Question (788) is an effort to let the people of the state decide the fundamental question of medical Cannabis, but the legislature is still being trusted by the proponents, to finish setting up proper state oversight.
The group at the capitol included;
- Frank Grove. President of DPRN, Groves is a graduate of Tulsa University with a degree in science. His father suffers brain cancer and medical professionals in other states have prescribed Cannabis products for those suffering similar conditions. Grove is a past senatorial candidate & a Libertarian.
- Cody Barlow. A Navy veteran suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) and panic attacks. Barlow is currently prescribed potent & additive Benzodiazepine tranquilizers from the Veterans Hospital. His family sent him to Colorado to participate in a medical trial with Cannabis products. His results were extremely positive and he believes that his physicians can replace the tranquilizers that leave him debilitated, with Cannabis treatments. He believes he will be able to rejoin the workforce & no longer be living off government assistance.
- Shawn Jenkins is the head of Oklahomans For Health. He educates and advocates for drug reform both from a philosophical basis and a medical practicality. He child is severely impaired since birth and would be a prime candidate for medical treatment, if only his family doctor was given permission to treat with Cannabinoids.
- Porter Davis is a former legislator from Oklahoma City. He has long advocated for constitutional restraint of government in areas where individual adults should take personal responsibility. A 'Liberty Republican', Davis advocates for personal liberties.
- Joanna Francisco founded the civic group, 'Liberty On Tap'. She is a former Republican State Committeewoman and was part of the Oklahoma delegation to the 2012 Republican National Convention. Her Tulsa area group educates & activates for liberty principles.
- David Van Risseghem. As a leader in mental health advocacy and trainer for law enforcement & first responders, Van Risseghem helps peace officers to better understand the needs of the seriously mentally ill. While self-medicating with Liquor, Cannabis, or other drugs is ill-advised, there are proper ways for a psychiatrist to utilize Cannabis and other drugs in a therapeutic course of treatment.