Oklahoma

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Oklahoma: Medical Marijuana Qualifies for November 2018 Ballot

Oklahoma Cannabis

Oklahoma will become next state to vote on medical marijuana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

State Question 788, a measure which would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, will be on Oklahoma ballot in 2018.

Oklahomans for Health collected enough valid signatures in 2016 to qualify for a statewide vote, but the measure was disputed by Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) over the wording in the ballot measure's title.

Oklahomans for Health filed litigation against AG Pruitt in the Oklahoma Supreme Court. In March 2017, the court ruled in favor of Oklahomans for Health, restoring the original ballot title. Since the dispute extended past the 2016 election date, the measure is being placed on the November 8, 2018 ballot.

United States: Federal Appeals Court Quashes States’ Attempt To Halt Colorado’s Recreational Cannabis Law, Allows RICO Suits

Court Quashes States’ Attempt To Halt Colorado’s Recreational Cannabis Law, Allows RICO Suits

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Wednesday, a three-judge panel for 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a lower court’s dismissal of Nebraska and Oklahoma's attempt to overturn Colorado’s recreational cannabis law, according to the Denver Post.

Oklahoma: Veteran Facing Life Sentence For Medicinal Cannabis Set Free After Public Outcry

Lewandowski Family, MassRoots

After the public outcry of support, the Marine veteran was treated with regard rather than disdain in the courtroom

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The state of Oklahoma was pursuing life in prison against Kristoffer Lewandowski, a 10 year Marine Corps Veteran who was a member of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Lewandowski, an honorably discharged Marine who served his country for over a decade, was facing ten years to life in prison for growing 6 cannabis plants in 2014, to treat his PTSD and combat injuries after Pharmaceuticals failed him.

Oklahoma: Governor Signs Bill Changing 'Marijuana' Definition To Exclude Fed-approved CBD

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has signed a bill removing any federally approved CBD product or drug from the state’s definition of “marijuana.” The move does little in helping to provide access to CBD therapies since no CBD-based drug or product has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

State Rep. Jon Echols said the measure “is the next logical step to expanding the state’s highly successful CBD program” and has helped “hundreds if not thousands” of Oklahoma citizens.

“In the history of the program there have been no reported incidents of abuse,” the Republican said in the report. “This non-intoxicating substance has literally changed the lives of many Oklahomans.”

“This makes it clear that if the FDA does approve a cannabidiol drug for use for medical treatment, that it would be legal,” Echols said.

Nebraska: Lawmakers Consider Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lawmakers in Nebraska are considering a bill that would make medical marijuana legal in the state, which would make it the first midwest state to do so.

Nebraska and Oklahoma together sued the state of Colorado in 2014 after it approved adult-use recreational marijuana. The two states argued that growers in Colorado were illegally selling marijuana in their states.

Nebraska now could potentially be joining the list of states that have legalized medical marijuana, however. Lawmakers are currently considering a bill from State Senator Anna Wishart called the Medical Cannabis Act, which would allow use of medical marijuana in certain cases.

The bill passed out of committee in March and will now go before the Senate, where it is expected to face opposition. A representative of the state attorney general's office and the head of the Nebraska State Patrol have already testified against the bill.

Governor Pete Ricketts also opposed a similar measure last year.

Nevertheless, Wishart told the Omaha World Herald she is “optimistic that members will listen to their constituents who are desperately asking them to legalize this form of treatment.”

The Nebraska bill would allow those suffering from certain chronic or severe diseases and conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription.

Oklahoma: Supreme Court Restores Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative Title

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has thrown out a rewrite of the title of its ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana, clearing the way for a vote on State Question 788. The title of the initiative was re-written by then-Attorney General Scott Pruitt last September, and the measure has been on hold since then. The rewrite led to a lawsuit between Pruitt, Oklahomans for Health, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, said the rewrite was intended to mislead voters into thinking they were voting for legalizing marijuana for adults.

“Whether it’s the folks that signed this initiative petition or all of the voters who will ultimately have the chance to weigh in on whether or not Oklahoma will have medical marijuana, they should be able to do that without the attorney general injecting his personal political position into the ballot campaign by misrepresenting what the petitioners seek to accomplish,” Kiesel said in a report.

The state Supreme Court ruled that Pruitt’s title changes be stricken and the original title language restored.

Oklahoma voters should get the chance to vote on the measure during the gubernatorial election in November 2018, but Governor Mary Fallin could schedule for a special election before then.

Oklahoma: State May Legalize Medical Marijuana Soon

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oklahoma could legalize medical marijuana a year before voters get a chance to decide on State Question 788 if Representative Eric Proctor (D-Tulsa) gets his bill passed.

Critics of the new bill complain that it only covers a few ailments and is too narrow.

House Bill 1877 would allow medical marijuana for the following list of conditions: Glaucoma, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Tourette’s syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe arthritis, fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Proctor's bill is modeled on the medical marijuana measure passed in Arkansas in 2016.

“Arkansas is a state that is very similar to Oklahoma, and this will give us the opportunity to see what works there and also see what doesn’t work,” Rep. Proctor told NewsOK in an interview.

State Question 788 is pending, but House Bill 1877 would speed up access to medical marijuana by a year or more.

William Jones, a leader of Oklahomans for Health, does not support Proctor's bill, complaining that it limits medical marijuana use to patients with a handful of ailments.

Idaho: State Struggles To Stop Pot Smugglers

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon and Washington are collecting millions of dollars in tax revenue from recreational pot sales, but neighboring Idaho is struggling to keep up.

Between 2011 and 2015 Idaho State Police saw a huge increase in the amount of marijuana they seized from people passing through their state.

"We've seen almost, approximately a 1000 percent increase in the amount of marijuana that we've seized in Idaho since it's became legal in Washington," said Idaho State Police Captain John Kempf.

ISP seized 131 pounds of marijuana in 2011. But in 2015 after voters in Oregon and Washington voted to legalize pot, the amount of marijuana seized climbed to 1,644 pounds.

Corporal Kevin Kessler and his K9 partner are responsible for many of those seizures. He said the busts begin as traffic stops and from there they find pot. Much of the time the pot is not destined for Idaho but it is being smuggled farther east.

The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board said the pot seized by ISP is not being diverted to the black market. WSLCB Spokesperson Mikhail Carpenter said they track marijuana from seed to sale.

Oklahoma: House Approves Bill To Expand Use Of Oil Made From Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Oklahoma House has approved legislation that expands the medical use of an oil derived from marijuana.

The House approved the measure with a vote of 69-14 and has sent it to Gov. Mary Fallin to be signed into law.

The measure will allow the medically supervised use of cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating derivative of marijuana. Backers say the oil is effective in treating people who have epileptic seizures. Use of the oil had been restricted to children under 18, but the bill approves Thursday removes the age restriction.

The measure also allows use of the oil to treat spasticity due to multiple sclerosis, paraplegia, and symptoms of chronic wasting disease.

Fallin signed legislation last year authorizing the use of cannabidiol in children but said she remains opposed to legalizing all medical marijuana.

Colorado: Nebraska And Oklahoma's New Tactic To Overturn Marijuana Legalization

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The states of Nebraska and Oklahoma are asking to intervene in an ongoing court case in their newest effort to overturn marijuana legalization in Colorado.

The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a proposed lawsuit brought against Colorado by the two states last month. Earlier this month, Nebraska and Oklahoma responded by asking to be added to a case at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

That case is the consolidation of two separate appeals filed by legalization opponents whose lawsuits were dismissed by a lower court. Nebraska and Oklahoma's motion means that all of the ongoing challenges against Colorado's legalization of marijuana have merged into a single court case.

Since Colorado became the first state in country to allow licensed stores to sell marijuana to anyone over 21 years old, the state has faced a number of lawsuits seeking to overturn the law. None of them have succeeded.

One lawsuit was brought by a group of county sheriffs and another was brought by the owners of a rural property next to a marijuana grow. In both cases, the plaintiffs — backed by national anti-legalization organizations — argued that federal laws criminalizing marijuana should override state law. Federal judges in Colorado dismissed both earlier this year, prompting the appeals, which were later consolidated into a single case.

US: Justice Clarence Thomas Enraged Over Supreme Court Rejection Of Marijuana Lawsuit

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

On Monday, the US Supreme Court rejected an effort by Oklahoma and Nebraska to have Colorado's legalization of marijuana declared unconstitutional.

The majority of justices did not explain their rationale for rejecting the case.

Justice Clarence Thomas was not one of those. In a dissent, he said Article III of the constitution is unambiguous in saying the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction over "controversies" between the states and that the majority's decision left the parties without a legal forum to deal with their case.

The case revolves about Colorado's 2012 adoption of an amendment to its constitution to "legalize, regulate and facilitate the recreational use of marijuana," according to Thomas's dissent.

"Amendment 64 exempts from Colorado's criminal prohibitions certain uses of marijuana. ... directs the Colorado Department of Revenue to promulgate licensing procedures for marijuana establishments. ... and requires the Colorado General Assembly to enact an excise tax for sales of marijuana from cultivation facilities to manufacturing facilities and retail stores," Thomas writes.

U.S.: Supreme Court Rejects Other States' Lawsuit Over Colorado Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case brought by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado over its marijuana legalization law. Oklahoma and Nebraska had claimed the Colorado law had created an increased law enforcement burden in neighboring states.

The suit, filed by Nebraska Attorney General John Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, claimed that federal marijuana prohibition preempts the law that Colorado voters decisively adopted in 2012. The Federal Government filed a brief urging the high court to reject the case.

"There is no question about it: This is good news for legalization supporters," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. "This case, if it went forward and the Court ruled the wrong way, had the potential to roll back many of the gains our movement has achieved to date. And the notion of the Supreme Court standing in the way could have cast a dark shadow on the marijuana ballot measures voters will consider this November.

Oklahoma: Baylor Running Back Devin Chafin Charged With Marijuana Possession, Suspended From Team

Baylor running back Devin Chafin.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Tillman County sheriff's office in Oklahoma arrested Baylor running back Devin Chafin on Friday and charged him with marijuana possession, according to a Facebook post from the department.

Art Briles of the Baylor Bears said that Chafin has been suspended from the team indefinitely. The Bears were set to resume practice Monday after a week off for spring break.

Chafin and a friend were returning from a trip to Colorado when were stopped for speeding in southwest Oklahoma at 8:05 am. A sheriff discovered marijuana and THC-laced candy which had been purchased legally in Colorado. Oklahoma only allows medical marijuana, however. Chafin and his passenger were both arrested and charged in the Tillman County Jail.

Chafin, a senior, has been an important member of the Bears, having rushed for 1,256 yards and 21 touchdowns in his career. Chafin was expected to be one of the top two running backs on the Bears' roster, but his status is now up in the air.

The full statement on Facebook from Tillman County Sheriff's office:

Washington, DC: Supreme Court Ruling Could End Legal Colorado Marijuana Sales

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A lawsuit brought forth by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado's legal marijuana market will be discussed by the Supreme Court on March 4. The suit has the potential to shut down Colorado's legal marijuana industry.

The controversial lawsuit, 'Nebraska and Oklahoma Vs. Colorado', suggests the two states “are suffering a direct and significant detrimental impact” as a result of the retail pot market in Colorado. The Court’s final verdict could have “devastating implications for marijuana legalization.”

The plaintiffs are requesting that the Supreme Court put an end to Colorado's marijuana industry because Amendment 64 conflicts with the Controlled Substances Act while violating the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. They claim that legalization has “created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system” that is leading to marijuana being smuggled into neighboring states.

The complaint asserts that the federal government is creating a difficult environment for law enforcement and Oklahoma and Nebraska citizens.

The Supreme Court gatekeeper, US Solicitor general Donald Verilli, Jr. says the case should be dropped because the dispute is not “an appropriate case for the exercise of this Court’s original jurisdiction.” He filed a briefing last year advising the court to dismiss the case, since the criminal actions defined by the complaint are being committed by individuals and not by the State of Colorado.

U.S.: DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Dismiss Suit Against Colorado Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The U.S. Solicitor General, on behalf of the federal Department of Justice, on Wednesday filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit that the neighboring states of Nebraska and Oklahoma filed against Colorado's marijuana legalization law.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., in the brief, argues that the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) "does not preempt a 'State law on the same subject matter' as the CSA's control and enforcement provisions 'unless there is a positive conflict' between federal and state law 'so that the two cannot consistently stand together.'

"Here, for example, it is conceivable that the Court could conclude that whether Colorado's scheme creates a 'positive conflict' with the CSA ultimately turns on, among other factors, the practical efficacy of Colorado's regulatory system in preventing or deterring interstate marijuana trafficking," the Solicitor General -- whose duty it is to represent the federal government before the Supreme Court -- wrote.

“This is the right move by the Obama administration," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. "Colorado and a growing number of states have decided to move away from decades of failed prohibition laws, and so far things seem to be working out as planned.

Oklahoma: LOL! Marijuana Smugglers Will Go Free Because Private Company Helped Arrest Them

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Caddo County, Oklahoma judge last year dismissed 30 drug cases in a single day because employees of a private company helped arrest the defendants. Now, attorneys say more cases in other counties are likely tainted due to their involvement.

Employees of a company called Desert Snow were helping make drug busts until a judge put a stop to the practice, reports Abby Broyles at KFOR News Channel 4.

A couple of years ago, District Attorney Jason Hicks made the monumentally bone-headed move of hiring Desert Snow employees to help train officers make drug stops along I-40, well known among drug enforcement types as a "drug corridor."

But Desert Snow employees were doing more than just training. They were doing actual police work, including arresting people, on the stops, and making money while doing it.

"[They] seized him, seized some containers of marijuana coming in from Colorado, seized $13,000 in cash, seized his car," said attorney Irven Box of one of those defendants.

Desert Snow employees aren't CLEET (Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training) certified -- but police in Oklahoma are required to be.

DA Hicks broke ties with the company after a ruckus occurred over the arrests. Desert Snow, seemingly something of a fly by night operation, then moved out of its Guthrie, Oklahoma office building.

U.S.: Nebraska, Oklahoma AGs File Lawsuit To Overturn Colorado Marijuana Legalization

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Colorado Attorney General says ‘suit is without merit and [his office] will vigorously defend against it’

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning on Thursday announced that he has filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of overturning Colorado’s laws that legalize, regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol. He said Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is also joining the lawsuit, which alleges the state constitutional amendment approved by Colorado voters and the implementing legislation approved by state lawmakers is unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“We agree with the Colorado Attorney General’s opinion that this suit is without merit," said Mason Tvert, the Denver-based communications director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) who co-directed the 2012 Colorado marijuana initiative campaign. "This is a classic case of a solution in search of a problem."

"They are wasting Nebraska and Oklahoma taxpayers’ dollars by filing this suit, and they’re forcing Coloradans to pick up the bill for defending ourselves against it," Tvert ssaid. "Colorado's top law enforcement officials have better things to do, and you’d think their counterparts in Nebraska and Oklahoma would as well.

“These guys are on the wrong side of history," Tvert said. "They will be remembered similarly to how we think of state officials who fought to maintain alcohol prohibition years after other states ended it.

Oklahoma: Governor Announces Support For CBD-Only Medical Marijuana Law

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on Wednesday announced she wants to work with lawmakers in the next session of the Legislature to legalize cannabidiol oil (CBD) on a limited, medically supervised, trial-only basis.

CBD is a component of the marijuana plant; unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), it does not produce a high. The compound has shown effectiveness in quelling seizures in toddlers with epilepsy and other conditions. The CBD oil isn't smoked; it is not considered a recreational drug.

"I do not support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana," Fallin said, reports Laura Noland at KFOR-TV. "Nor do I support a broadly defined 'medicinal' marijuana use that makes it easy for healthy adults and teenagers to find and buy drugs."

"I do support allowing potentially life-saving medicine to find its way to children in need," the Republican Governor said. "I am very interested in allowing limited, heavily supervised use of non-intoxicating CBD to be delivered on a trial basis to sick children in Oklahoma."

Rep. Jon Echols is preparing to lead a legislative study of allowing medical trials for CBD in treating children affected by severe seizures. Echols said he decided to take on the issue when his niece was told CBD may help with her medical condition.

Oklahoma: Councilman Wants City To Become Safe Haven For Marijuana Users

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An city councilman wants Village City, Oklahoma to become the first in the state to allow residents to possess small amounts of marijuana.

Jerry Broughton last week proposed the ordinance at the Village City council meeting, but received no support from the rest of the council, reports Ed Doney at KFOR.

It would only encourage pot smokers to move to Village City to use and grow marijuana, claimed Councilman Mitch Hibbard, who sounds like a regular intellectual. Hibbard believes this would interfere with Village City's efforts to be a "family friendly community."

Broughton said the jails and court systems are unnecessarily clogged with young marijuana users who aren't dangerous to the community if they use small amounts of pot in their own homes.

The city councilman added that it's time to allow Oklahomans to use cannabis for medical purposes.

Graphic: Village Voice

Oklahoma: Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced; GOP Ignores It

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill has been introduced in the Oklahoma State Senate to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes for adults age 21 and older.

Senator Connie Johnson introduced Senate Bill 2116, which would legalize, tax and regulate cannabis similarly to alcohol, reports The Huffington Post.

"By taxing and regulating marijuana we can take the lucrative market out of the hands of criminals and drug cartels and put it in the hands of tax-paying, law-abiding businesses," Senator Johnson said.

Johnson pointed out that marijuana prohibition diverts the attention of law enforcement away from more serious crimes.

"More importantly, we can stop arresting adults simply for using a substance less harmful than alcohol and focus our law enforcement resources on violent crimes and real threats to public safety, Sen. Johnson said.

"As taxpayers, we're spending over $30 million each year policing, jailing and incarcerating our citizens on marijuana-related offenses," she said. "Yet marijuana is almost universally available. It's time for a smarter approach."

This is Senator Johnson's fourth try to introduce the legislation, but she thinks it could have a better chance this time, due to social media, reports KSWO 7 News.

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