Legalizing Medical Marijuana: Don’t Let the Genie Out of the Bottle
The Real Issues
Oklahomans will be called upon to vote on the legalization of medical marijuana on Tues. June 26. Make no mistake about it, this vote is not just about the legalization of medical marijuana. It is about the legalization of the THC in the marijuana and is about taking the first step toward the eventual legalization of marijuana and its THC for recreational use with no medical restrictions.
This is not the day to have the “Blue Flu.” Voting “No” on State Question 788 is the proper moral response to the proposed legalization of anything which will prove to be a scourge to the social well-being of the citizens of the state of enactment. Oklahomans are banding together in opposition to SQ 788, and you need to be one of them. Here are some of the reasons why:
The Dangers of THC
THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. In other words, it targets the mind, producing both psychological and physiological effects. The THC bonds with receptors in the brain which help stimulate release of dopamine, creating a “high.”
The THC then “over activates” functions which, up to now, were naturally regulated by the body, such as mood, appetite, cognition and perception, thus compromising all of these, including one’s immune system. You might have been told that cannabis is an excellent treatment for cancer. But the reality is that it’s more likely to be prescribed, where legal, for the harsh side effects of cancer treatment than for the cancer itself.
Also, for those prone to psychosis or schizophrenia, cannabis can make them more vulnerable to their already existing conditions (Adam Drury, “What Is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) And What Does It Do?”). Surprisingly, Drury, a proponent for legalization, admits the dangers. Acute psychosis, hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of the sense of personal identity are also often experienced by those who take large doses of marijuana (National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Marijuana,”).
Marijuana is a drug, the legalization of which will come at the expense of our children and grand-children, creating dependency and treatment issues. It will be a gateway to the use of other drugs, impaired health, delinquent behavior and drugged drivers of motor vehicles. Colorado is already experiencing these effects (Richard Salter, “Medical Marijuana” Fact vs. Fiction Presentation).
The Frightening Numbers
Baptist Messenger Editor Brian Hobbs has already accurately pointed out that Oklahoma has passed one form of legalized marijuana in 2015, allowing a limited-basis program in the form of cannabis oil extract for certain types of patients, such as those suffering from childhood-onset epilepsy (Brian Hobbs, “Conventional Thinking: Is ‘medical marijuana’ OK for Okla.?” Baptist Messenger, 6 April 2018).
Salter explains that this cannabidiol, aka CBD oil, cannot exceed 0.03 percent of the THC and that Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical pure cannabidiol, is in development now. Hobbs has also expressed the concerns of the Anti-SQ788 Coalition in a Word Slingers article which seeks to warn voters of the smokescreen of legalizing “Medical Marijuana” when the bill more closely resembles legalization of recreational marijuana.
Salter’s data magnify the concerns expressed in Hobbs’ article and by the Anti-SQ788 Coalition by putting hard numbers to the legal latitudes a person in possession of a state issued medical marijuana license will be able to have, and these figures have recreational use and abuse written all over them:
- Consume marijuana legally
- Legally possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana on their person = 168 joints
- Legally possess 6 mature marijuana plants = 600 pounds or 540,000 joints
- Legally possess 6 seedling plants = the next 600 pounds
- Legally possess 1 ounce of concentrated marijuana at up to 99 percent THC available
- Legally possess 72 ounces of edible marijuana = 4.5 pounds of Brownies
- Legally possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana in their residence = another 448 joints
The Impact of Legalization
Further, municipalities would be prohibited from restricting zoning laws to prevent the establishment of retail marijuana shops and marijuana plants growing in yards would not be able to be restricted – there would be no code enforcement, and there would be no discipline or oversight of doctors prescribing “Medical Marijuana,” and “No person may be unduly withheld from holding a state license, such as a Firearms Concealed Carry Permit by virtue of being a Medical Marijuana License Holder” (Salter).
So, any driver/operator can be high while on the job provided they don’t have marijuana at work or use it while on the job. This means nurses, surgeons, forklift operators, taxi cab drivers, school bus drivers, over-the-road truckers with headaches and many more will be granted a legal THC-induced high.
We’ll only wish our neighbors next door were still just growing tomatoes and okra, but where’s the fun and the money in that? Surely we can see the societal scourge legalization of medical marijuana will unleash. And once this Genie is out of the bottle, there will be no putting her back in.
Two Tragic Ironies
There is much more to consider, but space here is limited. However, I must include two tragic ironies.
First, consider the driver with a prescription for “medical marijuana” for his frequent and crippling headaches who swerves to miss an animal in the road, crosses the median and collides with a vehicle driven by your 16-year-old daughter, killing her instantly; yet he survives. He explains to the Highway Patrol Trooper that he swerved to keep from hitting a giant, polka dotted unicorn he thought he saw standing in his lane. He was, of course, hallucinating. But he didn’t realize it at the time. Now the supposed cure for his headache becomes the sanctioned cause for your heartache.
Second, consider the fact that law enforcement agencies and departments will be handcuffed when it comes to imposing consequences or regulating marijuana use and abuse.
Taking Action Now
So, what can we do between now and Tuesday June 26? Pray. But don’t stop there. Educate yourself, family, and friends; and vote!
FBC Pryor is hosting an educational presentation by Richard Salter, assistant special agent in charge, DEA Oklahoma, Sunday June 24 at 4 P.M. in our Worship Center. He will present, in full, his PowerPoint presentation, and it is vivid.
Then, we have put together a post-presentation discussion panel to provide reflections on the presentation and opinions on the legalization of medical marijuana. The panel will include Brett Gray, MD, Board Certified Family Physician, Medical Director, Cherokee Nation Health Services Clinic; Tom Linihan, Superintendent (Ret), Adair Public Schools; Paul Mobley, DO, Medical Director (Ret), Public Health Services, Claremore Indian Hospital; Brian Surber, First Assistant District Attorney, District 12; Dr. Don Raleigh, Superintendent, Pryor Public Schools; and me, Dr. Michael Cox, Senior Pastor, FBC Pryor.
All panel members are against SQ 788. I encourage you to put events like this together throughout the state and to urge Oklahomans to make their voices heard by voting “No” on SQ 788. Don’t let the Genie out of the bottle!