OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, held an interim study yesterday to examine the standards necessary for medical marijuana in order to create a true medical cannabis product that can be dispensed through a pharmacy or M.D./D.O. The study, which featured presenters from the medical community, medical marijuana industry and law enforcement, was held before the House Committee on Alcohol, Tobacco and Controlled Substances.
"We need to look at what it takes for Oklahoma to have a 'true' medical marijuana industry here in our state," McDugle said. "When medical marijuana was first legalized, it was a bit like the land rush all over again. Dispensaries popped up all over our state and regulators were left playing catch up. Some of those issues have led to products on the market that don't necessarily help people in the way a true medical cannabis product should. I called for this study because we need to get to the bottom of what we can do at a state level to make this industry as helpful as possible to the people needing these products."
Sheldon Robinson, Chairman and CEO of Hobart Biosciences, provided testimony during the study. He said that he has seen a lot of purported medical marijuana being sold in Oklahoma, with very little of it being medical at all. The reason for this, according to Robinson, is that there are no doctors involved in the process of growing, cultivating and selling to consumers. He went on to say that the average Oklahoman is not comfortable going into a dispensary to buy medical marijuana, even if they need it, and the average doctor is not comfortable prescribing it because they do not know how to dose it. He said in order to get wholesale buy-in from doctors, another level of medicinal cannabis, held to a higher standard, needs to be created.
"When I am sick, I go to my doctor to make me feel better," McDugle said. "When I am in pain, I should be able to go to my doctor and get natural substitutes in place of addictive narcotics. We need to do whatever we can to get doctors the knowledge, education and training they need to be able to understand and prescribe cannabis for things like pain management, anxiety, PTS, etc. The only way we can get to that place is to hold the industry to a higher standard, or as Mr. Robinson explained in the study, create a new level of medicinal cannabis than is currently on the market."
McDugle said that work is currently being done to form a true medical cannabis association. This association would be made up of members who are doctors, medical grow facilities, pharmacists and medical cannabis labs. The goal of the association will be to form a higher standard of medical cannabis.