The following account is submitted by Drug Policy Reform Network board member, Dax Ewbank, who attended the hearing at the capitol.
Here is my takeaway from the CBD Hearing held today at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
I was happy that the hearing was held, there were at least 7 or 8 legislators present, which is far more than I’ve ever seen show up to discuss this issue. Kudos should definitely go out to Jon Echols for putting a forum together that legislators took the time to show up for. He did a great job.
The testimony provided by the two neurologists in the room was compelling. The testimony of these two individuals alone should be plenty to realize that we must change our state’s policy with regard to Cannabis, particularly CBD.
Several families also presented and gave heart wrenching testimony of the struggles they face not only dealing with the deadly seizures of their child, but also with our state’s laws. They are all frightened of what might happen to them if they choose to come home with the medicine they have found to provide relief to their children. Two of the families that testified both gave stories of almost overnight and miraculous relief provided by whole plant cannabis oil extract. The importance higher concentrations of THC was also stressed, as each child responds differently to the oil and its concentrations.
The final presenter was the Director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. I was glad that he felt compelled to present, however his presentation was not received well by me or many others in attendance. I don’t know if it was intentional, but his presentation came off as basically threatening the families there saying that if they pursue anything other than a low THC, CBD only policy then they would get nothing. I was not the only one in the room that took his presentation in this way. After the meeting, I asked him how it felt being the one pointing a gun at these families, and he of course denied doing any such thing. I told him that it is the fear of law enforcement alone that is oppressing these families to the point of either not providing medicine to their child, or living like a refugee to do so. I asked if he would allow these families to bring this medicine home, and he explicitly said no, because it is illegal (while still denying being the one holding the gun). I realize that his job is to uphold the law, but I hope that he finds himself in a moral dilemma with regard to this issue, being compelled by the law to act immorally against peaceful people.
I propose that the moral dilemma that the Director finds himself in can only be resolved by his joining our fight to decriminalize marijuana and help us through his office to provide safe access to Cannabis to those who need and want it.
The good news is that this was a step in the right direction, the hearing was well attended, and even the OBN is willing to make accommodations (although very limited ones) to help see some form of treatment available to these families is a very positive sign. There is still a great amount of work to do, and many obstacles to overcome. This may be a blessing in disguise, since the truth is on our side. If the activists can remain engaged and press this issue, even through all of these hurdles, the end result will be a nearly bulletproof presentation of the truth that we already know. So the bullheadedness of our activist community butting up against the reluctance of our legislator will only prove to meet out the truth in a way that ultimately cannot be refuted. It will take too long, and some children will die in the process, but at the end of the day, when Oklahoma finally comes to the realization of the ridiculousness of marijuana prohibition it will do so completely.
The CBD only law will still result in most of the families in the room today to have to live as refugees because of the THC limitations. Even the doctors who are wanting to do the research are afraid, acknowledging that they can’t even recommend a schedule 1 substance (marijuana) as a treatment without facing legal repercussions.
All in all, we have the wrong people in charge deciding the who, what, when, where, and why of the scientific and medical decisions that need to be made with regard to Cannabis. Instead of politicians, doctors and patients and people in general should be free to seek this out on their own without having to fear being arrested or having their children taken from them. Politicians should focus their laws not on the banning of plants and substances, but instead on how the law responds to those who choose to defraud or harm others. To me the impossibly complicated nuances of drug policy illuminate this truth all the more, I hope others begin to see it as well.