History of CBD and Cannabis: Oklahoma
In early eighties Oklahoma, massive statewide crop destruction reduced the number of illegal cannabis cultivation from hundreds of thousands of plants to under 50,000. Soon enough, the state and law enforcement did everything they could to stamp out illicit cannabis operations.
As a new wave of decriminalization has hit the US, Oklahoma officials have slowly changed their tune. Slowly, the state is crawling towards further decriminalization, legalization, and softening penalties for non-violent drug use.
Cannabis, CBD, and Oklahoma
After receiving pressure from the federal government and surrounding states, Oklahoma officials opted to criminalize cannabis for all uses in 1933. Despite their comparatively late adoption of restrictions, the state soon became one of the most active about persecuting distributors, consumers, and cultivators.
Over the years, Oklahoma has become notorious for its prosecution of minor nonviolent drug crimes. One Tulsa man received a life sentence for carrying less than an ounce of marijuana in 1992, which resulted in nationwide conversation regarding cannabis reform.
Now, the story is much different. As decades of anti-drug paranoia has diminished, research concerning the medical benefits of cannabis has percolated through national media. In the state, CBD sales run unchecked and largely unregulated due to the lack of policy for low THC cannabis supplements.
By 2014, a non-profit organization, dubbed Oklahomans for Health, petitioned for a medical marijuana resolution to be placed on the ballot. However, they failed to receive a large enough number of valid signatures.
Just a year later, the Governor signed a bill allowing for the sale, consumption, and distribution of low THC CBD for specific medical purposes. Since CBD is legal under the federal Farm Bill act of 2014, this law did little but formalize the already popular status of cannabidiol.
The momentum of the CBD bill drove public conversation back to the question of medical marijuana. Oklahomans for Health teamed up with Green the Vote to start a new petition, which ended up getting double the amount of signatures needed to be placed on the ballot.
Due to legal complications, the bill was pushed back by three years. Previous sponsors were unhappy with how the language of the bill had changed after introduction.
Ultimately, the medical marijuana referendum passed by a large margin: 57 percent to 43 percent, which added Oklahoma to the growing list of states that have legalized medical cannabis.
Unlike other states, Oklahoma has sped up the process of building the necessary infrastructure for supporting the cannabis market. Qualified patients are allowed to cultivate six plants and may buy marijuana from participating dispensaries.
Despite medical legalization, the state has strict policies and regular enforcement of illegal use. Possession is considered a misdemeanor, resulting in heavy fines and potential jail time. Even unlicensed personal production of edibles can technically still land someone a life sentence.
Oklahoma represents the conflicting aspects of patchwork decriminalization and legalization. Often, consumers are unaware of how strict varied uses of marijuana can be, especially since the legislative narrative is shifting somewhat in favor of cannabis treatments.