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The Clinic: Medical Marijuana in Oklahoma?

Prior to the 2012 election, when Colorado and Washington state voters approved legalizing marijuana by wide margins, longtime pot reformers used to get together in smoky back rooms and debate which state would “go green” first. Now, given all the recent momentum for weed legalization, those same discussions have shifted significantly, to the point that educated heads now speculate over which state will be the last to end marijuana prohibition.

Which brings us to Oklahoma, long known for its incredibly harsh cannabis laws and deep-seated opposition to changing them. Only now, it looks like the Sooner state could be approving medical marijuana a lot sooner than anybody thought possible, albeit only in a non-psychoactive form.

“I do not support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, nor do I support a broadly-defined ‘medicinal’ marijuana use that makes it easy for healthy adults and teenagers to find and buy drugs. [But] I do support allowing potentially life-saving medicine to find its way to children in need,” Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said recently, “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.”

The move comes as an increasing number of states, including many with highly conservative electorates and little to no history of legislative support for marijuana reform, have embraced cannabis-derived medicines rich in cannabidiol (CBD), a component of the marijuana plant that doesn’t get you high, but does provide an incredibly effective treatment for pediatric epilepsy, among many other ailments. CBD rose to national prominence last August when CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta aired a television special showing how it dramatically stopped seizures in severely ill children.

Last year, a broad medical marijuana bill died in the Oklahoma senate’s Health and Human Services committee. But now the chair of that committee, Republican Brian Crain, says he’s all for CBD, so long as nobody gets their hands on any THC.

“We have children who are suffering seizures,” he said, “and if there’s something we can do for them, without increasing the risk for substance abuse, we have to try all the options.”

How kind of you. And please let us know when trying “all the options” includes letting a cancer patient smoke a joint to get through chemo without fear of arrest.

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