OKLAHOMA CITY – In these closing days of the historic confrontation centered around the only statwide measure on the June 26 ballot in the Sooner State, advocates for legalization of medical marijuana have pressed their case for “YES” votes on State Question 788. Supporters of S.Q. 788 quickly rebuked arguments advanced by their antagonists at a press briefing last week.
The following text, on the pro-788 website, captures the essence of final themes in the support campaign: “You can’t smoke marijuana in public after the passage of S.Q. 788. Many are stating that S.Q. 788 is recreational. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
S.Q. 788 requires a doctor’s recommendation and is based off of medical marijuana laws from other states, taking what works and removing what has failed. Teenage usage of medical cannabis will either decrease or stay the same and thousands of lives will be saved from avoidable opioid related deaths.”
Soon after a June 20 press conference from their foes, the Yes on 788 Campaign released their argument for the defense, i.e. for a YES vote.
Joe Howell, a doctor of veterinary medicine – who is Past President of Oklahoma Board of Veterinary Examiners and Licensure and Past President of American Veterinary Medical Association – issued a statement, sent to The City Sentinel, that contradicted what supporters contend is “misinformation spread by the SQ788 is NOT Medical Campaign.”
Howell said, “Veterinarians can not write prescriptions for humans.” Rather, he stressed, vets can only prescribe “to animals they have client patient relationship with and must be documented by medical records.” Jed Green, Director of the Yes on 788 Campaign said in response, “It is good to see Dr. Howell stand up and speak the truth.”
He concluded, “Saying Veterinarians can give joints to kids is just part of a million dollar lie campaign to keep hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans from having access to the medicine they need”
Of some interest, Howell is a candidate in State Senate District 40. He is seeking to unseat Dr. (and state Senator) Erwin Yen, in the primary Election on June 26 – same day as the vote on S.Q. 788.
New Health Solutions Oklahoma (NHSO) Executive Director Bud Scott participated in a June 19 forum hosted by the Duncan Chamber of Commerce. The event was in many ways a debate and discussion of S.Q. 788.
The forum was moderated by State Senator Anthony Sykes, R-Moore. Other panelists include District Attorney Jason Hicks and Dr. Matt Ivory of Duncan. The forum took place at the Duncan Regional Hospital Conference Center.
NHSO, the group Scott runs, is the trade group representing the medical cannabis industry and investors in Oklahoma.
Scott saw his role in the forum as presenting people with a clear picture on the benefits of medical cannabis and dispelling some of the rumors and myths being propagated by opponents of State Question 788.
Scott said, in comments sent to The City Sentinel before the forum, “The research and the science is there: we know that medical marijuana can help manage diseases like cancer, post traumatic stress disorder, and epilepsy. This is a vote to legalize a medical product for medical purposes, and there are a lot of sick Oklahomans who could benefit from it immediately. The opponents of SQ 788 aren’t being honest when they say otherwise.”
The Duncan forum was a sign of how intense popular interest is for the approaching vote on State Question 788.. The Duncan Banner reported a standing-room only crowd gathered for the event,during which both sides presented passionate arguments in support of their stances.
NOTE: Editor Pat McGuigan contributed to this report.