FIGHT CANNABIS BIGOTRY

Rep. Jim Olsen and HB 2779

image2

Representative Jim Olsen (District 2) seeks to prohibit cannabis retailers within 1000 feet of any building used, owned, rented or even "borrowed" on a permanent or temporary basis for any religious business whatsoever.  


This would extend not only to houses of worship, but business offices for religious entities as well as storage sites where a church may, for example, keep its old furniture.


Given that a church could purchase, rent or "borrow" any structure to prevent a dispensary from opening, and given as well the near-ubiquity of existing buildings used for religious functions, this would extremely restrict available locations for dispensaries. 


Further, what happens when a religious group purchases, rents or "borrows" a building, office or storage space after a new cannabis dispensary opens?  At the time the dispensary opened, it would be legally permitted to do so, but HB 2779 would require that they close down if some nearby space is subsequently occupied by a religious group?


The rationale behind this bill is likewise questionable.  Many theists believe that the natural world was designed by God.  Hence, our endocannabinoid system and the plant which provides resources to this system are part of God's creation.  


What sort of religion thinks it appropriate to impede access to a plant for which there are tens of thousands of published studies showing its medical efficacy?


Should the state endorse such a religious agenda?  Is this the America you want?  Is this the Christianity you want?


What HB 2779 does is that it uses the power of the state to promote sectarian religious bigotry against cannabis.  It reinforces the message that SQ788 sought to move beyond.  HB 2779 is yet another move by anti-Cannabis forces to perpetuate the idea that cannabis use is immoral and users are not to be accepted into civil society.  This is Cannabis Jim Crow.


Cannabis and the Bible

image3

The Bible mentions  קנה בשם -- cannabis -- at Ex. 30:23.  It is one of the ingredients of holy anointing oil (and the word "Christ" means anointed one).  Modern Bibles sometimes mistranslate Kaneh-Bosm (plural for Kaneh-Bos) as "Calamus" because the 3rd C. BCE Septuagint translators (a core basis for modern Bible translations), when translating the Hebrew to Greek, mistook Kaneh-Bos for a different plant.   


Cannabis was used by early Christians and Jews.  It was used throughout Asia and the Middle East for more than 5000 years.  The contemporary anti-Cannabis attitude among some Christians has its source in the Racist propaganda campaign of the Harry J. Anslinger. 


The Jewish and Muslim attitude towards cannabis is far more open than the Christian attitude (at least the one implied by Representative Olsen).   Cannabis is also mentioned in the Talmud and Modern Rabbinical Councils have formally recognized medical cannabis as "kosher," i.e. as permissible by Jewish Law.


In fact, Israel has had medical cannabis legal for thirty years and one of the largest cannabis businesses in the world, Tikkun Olam, was not only founded by Orthodox Jews, but the name given to their company reflects the foundational duty of all Jews: to "Repair the World."


There are also dozens of cannabis churches around the country.  Many non-believers have come to rethink their religious attitudes in light of the astounding healing power of this plant.  


Some of these churches (here in Oklahoma as well) operate out of dispensaries.  HB 2779 would make this illegal.


Moreover, if a church finds cannabis offensive, would it not be in their interest to make sure that dispensaries are as close to them as possible so that those who use cannabis will be reminded of the Cross?   


Is not the best location for a church beside a bar, a brothel, a strip club, or other locations deemed beds of iniquity?  Does this bill not, in fact, go against the Evangelical spirit? 


Or are those who support this bill afraid to accept that the church has been complicit in the War on Drugs, a war which destroyed the lives of tens of millions of Americans and deprived many more of the incredible medical benefits found in this plant? 


Perhaps Representative Olsen and those who asked for this bill should ponder these questions and consider too:

 

Ecclesiasticus 38:4

“The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them.” King James Version (KJV)

HB 2779: The Cannabis Bigotry Act of 2020

image4

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?  Is this what America stands for?  Is this even Constitutional?


Does YOUR church oppose the use of a plant created by God, one that can prevent pediatric seizures, ease Parkinson's Disease tremors,  pain from Chrohn's Disease?  


Does YOUR church believe that opioids are safer for treating chronic pain than cannabis?


Does YOUR church believe that the 50 countries which have legalized medical cannabis (and 33 states) are going against God's will?


That is what Rep. Olsen's bill suggests. That is the Christianity he wants to shape our laws.


Here is a link to HB 2779

http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2019-20%20INT/hB/HB2779%20INT.PDF


If you wish to contact Representative Olsen, here is his contact information.  


2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Room  329B
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 557-7315 


 jim.olsen@okhouse.gov 

Anti-Cannabis Bigotry 1937-2019

image5

 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.

http://readextract.com/2019/11/15/freedom-impaired

Public Housing

image6

 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. 

Cannabis in Pain Management

image7

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.

THC Urinalysis, Workplace Bigotry, and DUI Laws

Safety Sensitive Positions

image8

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:

http://readextract.com/2019/08/16/concerning-safety


See also Dr. Pasternack's op/eds on the new legal status of THC and issues in Urinalysis.

Hemp-based THC and Workplace Drug Testing

image9

 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...

https://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/columnists/lawrence-pasternack-medical-marijuana-and-workplace-safety/article_a55493d6-fed6-522e-b743-191002d46d71.html 

THC and DUI Laws

image10

 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.   

image11



image12

image13

Further ISSUES AND CHALLENGES

Non-Psychoactive Products

image14

 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.   

Patient Delivery

image15

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

Business Etiquette

image16

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!

Other Issues

image17

   Have you faced discrimination because of your status as a medical marijuana card holder?  Is there another patient-focused issue you want to bring to our attention?  Contact us at:   

contact@okcla.org 

Other Issues

image18

  Have you faced discrimination because of your status as a medical marijuana card holder?  Is there another patient-focused issue you want to bring to our attention?  Contact us at:   

 contact@okcla.org 

Other Issues

image19

 Have you faced discrimination because of your status as a medical marijuana card holder?  Is there another patient-focused issue you want to bring to our attention?  Contact us at: