Dr. Pasternack's driving concern behind his involvement in this movement is ensuring access for all who will gain meaningful medical benefits from cannabis.
Unfortunately, most of the pain management doctors of this state (as well as some oncologists and those in other practices) do not let their patients use cannabis.
This is especially concerning given the "opioid crisis," and that cannabis doesn't bear the same level of risks as opioids.
His most recent op/ed discusses this problem.
HB 2779 expresses an attitude and it asks the state to enforce that attitude. By declaring that Cannabis dispensaries cannot be opened near churches, the attitude being expressed is that Cannabis use is "unChristian," immoral, and that it needs to be ghettoized. It tells cannabis users that their actions go against the Church and that they are not welcome in civil society.
Is this a proper use of the powers of government?
Here is a link to HB 2779
If you wish to contact Representative Olsen, here is his contact information.
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Dr. Pasternack's recent article (11/13/19) which discusses how the ongoing anti-cannabis prejudices in Oklahoma have their roots in the racism of Harry J Anslinger and the politics of Richard Nixon.
Many local housing authorities are prohibiting beneficiaries from having MMJ licenses. They claim federal law is tying their hands. However 15 years of HUD memos show instead that federal law gives authorities discretion to set their own policies and HB 2612 mandates that patient licensees shall not be denied public benefits unless federal law explicitly requires that.
Doctors who terminate medical marijuana patient licensees may not realize that (a) there is no legal reason (state or federal) why they cannot prescribe scheduled medications (including opioids) to medical marijuana licensees; (b) there is no clear medical reason why they cannot, for it can not only help patients use fewer opioids, but also because THC is a respiratory stimulant, it reduces the risk of a opioid overdose (see the link below).
We have met with the Oklahoma Pain Society on this issue and they have issued a statement accepting the concomitant use of opioids and medical marijuana.
Also, Section 10.C. of HB 2612 offers explicit protections for pain management physicians who prescribe opioids to medical marijuana patient licensees.
Although SQ 788 prohibited employers from taking adverse employment action based upon card holder status or adverse employment action based upon THC screenings for card holders, HB 2612 introduced an exception for "Safety Sensitive" positions.
While we certainly support workplace safety, neither card-holder status nor a positive THC screen correlate with impairment. In most cases, the tests are for a metabolite that is not psychoactive and remains in one's system for up to 90 days.
Moreover, since Section 12619 of the 2018 Farm Bill removed Hemp-based THC from the CSA, employers can remain a "drug free workplace" by federal standards even if an employee tests positive for THC (since THC as such is no longer Schedule One -- it depends rather on its source).
We are deeply concerned about this exception and how it is being implemented by employers.
See an op/ed from our friend Justin Williams at Climb Collective here:
See also Dr. Pasternack's op/eds on the new legal status of THC and issues in Urinalysis.
Section 12619 of the 2018 Federal Farm Act explicitly amends the Controlled Substances Act, removing both Hemp and Hemp-based THC from Schedule One.
As such, positive drug tests for THC or THC metabolites no longer establish on their own that the employee has used a federally scheduled drug.
See Dr. Pasternack's op/ed at...
Current DUI law (Title 47.11.902.A.3) states that a person is per-se DUI if they have "any amount of a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance, as defined in Section 2-204 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, or one of its metabolites or analogs in the person's blood, saliva, urine or any other bodily fluid."
Title 2-204 of Title 63 does NOT list THC. Instead, it lists "Marihuana" and hemp has been removed from the definition of "Marihuana" at the state and federal level. In fact THC derived from Hemp has been removed from Schedule I of the CSA.
What does this mean? Positive THC tests no longer establish marihuana use and are no longer per-se DUIs.
Are you looking for high CBD/low THC strains, patches, ointments, or other products that reduce psychoactivity?
We believe the marketplace should include many options for patients new to cannabis, those who dislike its psychoactivity, or need to avoid such effects amidst their family and work life.
Currently, the only legal barrier to delivery to patients is the OSDH regulation 310:681-5-18.c..
However, Attorney General Hunter stated in his July 18th 2018 opinion that the OSDH does not have authority to restrict how dispensaries conduct business unless such practices fall within their statutory authority. Hours, location, potency of products are illustrative of practices which fall outside OSDH authority. In addition, the OSDH may not impose rules that have adverse economic impact on businesses without addressing the economic impact of such rules (75 O.S. sec. §253 (B)(2)).
Because of the challenges faced by patients with chronic pain, spasticity disorders or similar conditions, the ban on delivery should be reevaluated as in conflict with the public interest and state regulations governing emergency rules
We encourage all business owners and patients to remember that this is a medical program. Although there is clearly a cause of celebration given the end of cannabis prohibition in the state, the war is not over.
Events that promote cannabis use that will be seen as recreational by legislators are deleterious to the interests of medical patients.
We thus hope that businesses and patients bear in mind that our lawmakers, employers, and physicians are watching. It is far better that we promote etiquette within the community than give the state ammunition to roll back 788!
Please be kind to one another and remember that we are all working hard to bring liberty to the people of this state and beyond!