Tonight, the most impactful individuals in Oklahoma's Marijuana Law Reforms gathered in Tulsa for a Town Hall on Marijuana Public Policy. The meeting, at Fellowship Congregational Church, was open to the public and dozens of issues were discussed. SoonerPolitics & Oklahomans For Health sponsored the forum. Rep. Scott Fetgatter & Rep. TJ Marti discussed the several matters still left unresolved in Oklahoma govt. agencies. Industry Lawyers, Growers, Researchers, Processors, & Shop Owners were all in the auditorium to find solutions.
Among the initiatives the lawmakers revealed were;
The meeting went 90 minutes and was followed by an informal meet & greet. Proponents for SQ807 were on hand to answer informal inquiries.
SoonerPolitics & 3D Politics provided a live web feed, as did Oklahomans for Health. A texting service was provided so that viewers around the state could text a question directly to the moderators, and get prompt attention from the town hall.
The gathering was a significant and very inclusive event which might become an annual tradition in Oklahoma. It helped the lawmakers get a sense of the most pressing issues to those providing the medicines.
Rep. TJ Marti (a pharmacist) provided his best research data on the established science of the endocannabinoid system and matters of reliable dosing for specific treatments. The matter of inconsistent marijuana paraphernalia laws is something Fetgatter says "Makes no sense, when a patient is licensed." But TJ Marti declined when asked if he'll be selling bongs in his drugstores.
When asked about the idea of SQ807 and broad legalization, Fetgatter said; "I will not support a 15% excise tax". SQ807 would add full legalization to the Oklahoma Constitution, and establish a 15% excise tax in our constitution.
Regarding the two most radical bills to further harm patient access to medicines, Fetgatter said; "a 1000ft zone around churches is not going to be acceptable." He also said that a bill to increase the MMB fees is also not going to go anywhere.
Rep. Fetgatter updated citizens on the vast improvements of the OMMA, in the past 4 months. In August, the industry leaders marched on the OMMA in protest of the many unworkable rules. this led to the resignation of both the OMMA Director and the Interim Commissioner of Health. Fetgatter gave very high marks to the new OMMA Director; a sentiment which was echoed by many people in the room.
Until Director Fitzpatrick reopened the OMMA Call Center (October), Fetgatter said he was doing most of the call center work of resolving the very worst failures of the OMMA to serve the needs of over 200,000 patients who were suffering ailments like Cancer, Nerve Pain, Seizures, Severe PTSD & Anxiety, Glaucoma, and many other health conditions.
Despite some very unworkable and financially troubling issues for MMBs, the dialogue remained very productive and at several times both the questioners and lawmakers enjoyed some self abasing humor, to keep the discussions friendly.
Chip Paul (author of SQ788 and founder of Oklahomans For Health) served as a moderator of the town hall. Tulsa Businessman and broadcaster, Tom McCay, also moderated. the Panelists of the Oklahoma Political Podcast, 3D Politics Live, also hosted the night.
After the meeting, industry attorney, Ron Durbin, said many challenges remain for growers, processors, & Dispensaries. Durbin pledged to engage with the lawmakers much more, this year, so legislators can get quicker feedback about laws that might unnecessarily put too much burden on the industry, or create obstructions separating patients from the medicines that are working best for them.