If we live long enough, we eventually get around to doubting some of our memories. I remember watching my hometown Westfield Shamrocks overcome a 20-point deficit in the final two minutes to win a basketball game. (The guards just kept stealing passes in the backcourt.) A Hoosier pal reconfirmed the occurrence several years ago. Still,….

Another unlikely but true occurrence came about 40 years ago in an East Texas courtroom. A cancer patient petitioned to use marijuana to ease his suffering. The judge, a former hard-nosed prosecutor, agreed. No opposition; no debate. Look at the facts and render the common sense verdict. I was an editor then. When the reporter returned from the courthouse, he had barely enough for a snippet. I doubt if the decision made it to “P-I,” the front page. I’m not sure how the marijuana was acquired (East Texas is verdant) or how it was delivered to the patient. I’m thinking it was through the sheriff’s office

On June 26, Oklahomans will vote on State Question 788, which, if approved, would legalize medical marijuana in the state. Despite scare tactics, opposition from the opioid industry and outright lies, a Yes vote is the compassionate, common sense vote.

Terry Gresham, my Democratic counterpart in Comanche County, has provided Ballotpedia info on the issue: “The measure would provide for the licensing of medical marijuana recipients, dispensaries, commercial growers and processors. An office within the Oklahoma State Department of Health would be created to review applications and issue licenses.” Strict licensing; continued state oversight. An adult would require a board-certified physician’s signature. Someone under 18 would need two doctors’ signatures plus that of a parent or legal guardian.

It’s a medical issue.

Ballotpedia continues, “There would be no qualifying conditions, but a doctor would be required to sign according to ‘accepted standards a reasonable and prudent physician would follow when recommending or approving any medication.’” Common sense standards.

Two-year licenses would cost $100. “Recipients of Medicaid, Medicare or SoonerCare would pay $20 for a license. Caregiver licenses would also be available.” There would be a 7 percent tax on marijuana sales. The money would fund regulatory costs, with any surplus being divided 75-25 percent between the General Fund to be used for education and the Health Department.

(Oh, yes, that 7 percent tax on marijuana is greater than the 5% Gross Production Tax which oil industry lackeys are now trying to overturn.)

This is not a vote to legalize recreational pot smoking. This is a vote to ease people’s pain without subjecting them to the perils of opioid addiction. And, while it should be illegal to put state questions on partisan primary ballots, I remind Independents that you can vote in the Democratic primary. And when you do, do be kind to your suffering neighbors. Vote Yes on State Question 788.

P.S. County folks be sure to vote to continue the 0.15 percent sales tax that provides essential funding to five senior nutrition centers and 12 county fire departments. Be good neighbors.

(Gary Edmondson is Stephens County Democratic Party Chair.)

Medical marijuana makes good sense

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