SB902 is now effectively a dead bill. Dan Newberry (R), chairman of the Senate Business and Finance Committee, did not allow this bill to be heard and voted on today.

Authored by Senator Constance Johnson (D), SB902 is a medical marijuana bill that would allow doctors in Oklahoma to recommend and prescribe cannabis to severely ill patients.

The State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision shall develop and adopt rules permitting the prescription of medical cannabis by physicians licensed in the State of Oklahoma pursuant to the provisions of Section 480 et seq. of this title. The Board shall establish fees for the licensing, production, distribution, and consumption of medical cannabis and develop policies for the issuance of licenses to prescribers and consumers of medical cannabis.

If passed, it would go into effect November 1 and make Oklahoma the 21st state to allow medical use of the cannabis plant. Under current rules, a doctor could lose his or her license for even suggesting a patient explore the possibility of using cannabis to treat even life-threatening conditions.

I attended a Senate hearing last week on the potential of several forms of cannabis (oil, CBD-rich strains, etc.) to treat severe seizures. The hearing was an informational session presented by Dr. Mark Rosenfield, CEO of ISA Scientific inc., and Josh Stanley of Strains of Hope (featured on CNN’s “Weed” with Dr. Sanjay Gupta), as well as two heartfelt pleas from parents of children whose life-threatening seizures are better treated with one dose of cannabis oil than more than fifteen pharmaceutical medications. Senator Newberry did not attend this meeting.

This hearing was on the same day as a legalization rally for SB2116 (also authored by Constance Johnson), but this bill was only for medical use. I think it’s a shame that Senator Newberry didn’t even feel this bill deserved to be heard.

Personally, I have been shy about taking a position on drug law reform, or at least being vocal about it, but this one matters more to me because it could significantly affect the healthcare of many people who are dependent on medicines that literally kill in the end. Allowing people to use medication that could replace 15 drugs and countless thousands (if not millions) of dollars should be a no-brainer. But it looks like Oklahoma will have to wait.

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