Meet The Opponents Of SQ 788 For Medical Cannabis In Oklahoma

Opponents of State Question 788 claim the medical cannabis law is a cover for basically going full recreational

  • The group SQ 788 is NOT Medical is leading the fight against medical cannabis

  • Oklahoma will vote on SQ 788 on Tuesday

  • Government officials say they will deal with any problems that arise if the law passes as they encounter them

On Tuesday, Oklahoma will vote on allowing statewide medicinal cannabis. The bill faces opposition from several groups claiming the new law is a cover for recreational cannabis.

Leading the fight is the group “SQ 788 is NOT Medical.” The group’s Facebook page has gained just over 1,700 likes. According to a statement on their website, the group believes State Question 788 is not allowing access to “true medical marijuana.” The group claims many members are supportive of medical cannabis.

We are united against SQ 788 because, though it is labeled as such, it is not about allowing access to true medical marijuana, to which many members of our coalition are not opposed. The reality is SQ 788 will, in practice, legalize recreational marijuana, and is simply bad public policy.

A video from the group speaking at the Oklahoma State Medical Association gives a better look at some of the propaganda-fueled rhetoric the group is using to try and push their agenda.

Like a scene straight out of “Reefer Madness,” Pat McFerron claimed that he had been told you can roll up to 80 joints out of an ounce of cannabis—an unfounded claim backed by one faulty study—which spawned the group displaying 80 fake joints representing exactly how much cannabis residents will be allowed to possess. The fake joints sat next to bags of oregano represent the amount of cannabis people will be able to possess.

The question has existed for a very long time. Exactly how much cannabis generally goes into a joint? One study claimed the standard amount of cannabis in a joint was 0.66 grams. The federal government at one point claimed the answer to be .43 grams. A study conducted by the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence determined the amount to be .32 grams based on federal drug arrest data.

According to basic math, there would be 42 joints in an ounce—which is 28 grams—of cannabis if each joint was .66 grams. If we are going by the federal standard of .43 grams per joint there would be 65 joints. There would be 87.5 joints in an ounce if each joint had .32 grams of cannabis.

So how did the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence determine the answer to be .32 grams? With a self-admitted “imperfect” look at the question of course. Dr. Ridgeway and Dr. Kilmer turned their attention to people arrested between 2000 to 2003 and 2007 to 2010 under a Department of Justice program.

Dr. Ridgeway and Dr. Kilmer found the standard price of a gram to be $6.81 and the cost of a joint to be $3.50. The price difference suggested that a joint was half a gram on average. After finding variations in the study—such as different prices in different states—the team created a mathematical drug pricing model.

The drug pricing model was created in hopes of accounting for the variations, which the two admitted was a flawed study. For example, anecdotal pricing of cannabis played a role in determining the amount of cannabis in a joint. The study only reflected cannabis users that have been arrested and only contained data from a few counties around the country. However imperfect the study may or may not be, McFerron is one of many who decided to run with it, which in return helps to discredit the groups overall argument.

McFerron went for a second extreme when he warned of the possible risks from people growing. Patients will be able to have up to six adult cannabis plants if SQ 788 passes. McFerron claims that each of these plants could produce up to a pound of cannabis a piece every few months.

While it is possible for a plant to produce up to a pound of cannabis, it is not a common occurrence. With a decent grow room, an average of two to three ounces can be expected per plant. As far as the frequency of harvest, cannabis indica plants generally have a flowering time of 8 to 12 weeks, while cannabis sativas have a flowering time of 12 to 16 weeks. Crossbreeds of the two can be expected to have a flowering time between 10 and 14 weeks.

The two to three months of flowering time does not begin until the end of the plant’s life cycle. First, the plant must either be sprouted by seed or cloned from a mother plant. From there the plant still must go through a vegetative stage before it gets to flower. This process can take anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on the grower, strain, and end goal for the plant. In other words, the majority of people with six plants are not going to be able to flood the streets with cannabis as McFerron suggests.

Standing with SQ 788 is NOT Medical is another group, “Oklahoma Faith Leaders.” A post from the group’s Facebook page on June 12 reads, “This is what we’re fighting against. Their intent is to undo the influence of the church in Oklahoma – or ‘unbuckle the bible belt.’ This is why we must vote no! #marijuana.”

The group also argues there are over 779 strains of cannabis and do not believe that “budtenders” at dispensaries should be the ones recommending cannabis to patients, even though in often cases they are extremely well-versed in different strains. What the group fails to understand is that every strain that has, or will ever be created, originates from either cannabis sativa or cannabis indica.

There is a debate over how many species of cannabis exist. Some say there are three consisting of cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. Some argue they could all fall under a subspecies of cannabis sativa. Regardless, there are 779 different strains of cannabis, not 779 different species and it should be noted none of these new strains are causing unheard of effects on users.

If passed, SQ 788 will allow users to carry up to three ounces of cannabis on their person. Growers will be able to have up to six adult cannabis plants and six seedlings. Patients will also be able to have up to an ounce of concentrate on their person, up to 72 ounces of edibles, and up to eight ounces at their residence.

If passed, the state says they will deal with problems with the new cannabis law as they encounter them. With over half the country already allowing medical and/or recreational cannabis, there are plenty of models that can be followed.

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About Meko Haze

Meko Haze is an independent journalist by day... and an independent journalist by night.

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