The Edmond Sun

Local News

August 10, 2012

Independent state Senate hopeful backs medical marijuana

EDMOND — People should not have to fight their government in order to ease their pain, said Richard Prawdzienski, an Independent state Senate District 41 candidate. He supports amending state law to allow for medical marijuana use for Oklahomans, he said.

Prawdzienski will face Republican incumbent state Sen. Clark Jolley Nov. 6 in the general election. Both men live in Edmond.

Now retired, Prawdzienski served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked in logistics at Tinker Air Force Base. He also has been active in the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma and is former chairman of the group.

State Sen. Constance Johnston, D-Holdenville, introduced Senate Bill 573, the Compassionate Use Act of 2011, to allow medical marijuana with a physician’s recommendation. Action on the bill went no further than the Health and Human Services Committee.

“More than 100 controlled clinical trials of cannabinoids or whole-plant preparations for various indications have been conducted since 1975. There is clear evidence that cannabinoids are useful for the treatment of various medical conditions,” Prawdzienski said. “Oklahoma should look at the facts and change the antiquated and false Oklahoma Law.”

Federal law prohibits the use of medical marijuana, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Marijuana is classified as having a high potential for abuse with “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” the DEA stated.

In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Obama Administration favors physician-recommended access to medical marijuana. In 2010, Obama deterred federal prosecutors from making medical marijuana arrests in the 18 states allowing medical marijuana.

Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington have passed laws allowing the use of medical marijuana for medical treatment, according to The Associated Press.

Sen. Brian Crain, the chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, said he is “lukewarm” to the idea of an interim study on medicinal marijuana, but he will decide whether to have a hearing after listening to what Johnson has planned, according to a report in the Enid News & Eagle.

Prawdzienski said the scope of the marijuana use issue goes beyond medical marijuana.

“Are we for individual freedom or group domination? I am for freedom,” he said.

The language of SB573 stated it shall not affect any other rule or law that regulates:

•  Penalties for sales to minors;

•  Penalties for the possession of marijuana by minors;

•  Driving under the influence;

•  Workplace protections against accommodations for marijuana use; or

•  Health insurance or pharmacy policies.

The bill further states:

•  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no physician in this state shall be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having recommended marijuana to a patient for medical purposes.

• The provisions of Section 2-402 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes relating to the possession of marijuana and Section 2-509 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes relating to the cultivation of marijuana shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient’s primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.

•  For the purposes of this section, “primary caregiver” means the individual designated by the person exempted under this section who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health or safety of that person.

“Our government must respect our fellow Americans and respect their well-trained doctors to practice the way they see fit. We should not have to fight the state to ease our pain,” Prawdzienski said.

Jolley did not return phone calls seeking comment on this issue.

jcoburn@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 171

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