GCM Roundup | New rules take effect as OK cannabis awaits more on Metrc
I had a bunch of rough copy and notes written up around the new rules from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and the status of the Metrc lawsuit. But it’d be re-writing a lot of stuff I’ve already researched and written in this space.
That’s part of the problem. I’ve been watching the weed news cycle but been checked out of formal Green Country Monitor posts for days. Turns out I didn’t miss much. State-legal cannabis is more confused than ever before about what all levels of government want and expect, now featuring half-steps from Congress once again.
Kelly Williams, director of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, says to anyone who will listen that her primary concern is the safety of patients. Kelly Williams has many masters, including the Oklahoma State Legislature, which has political concerns of its own that transcend mere Kelly Williams.
She’s not powerful enough to make patients her primary concern, even if they sincerely were her primary concern. Ask me about the nightmare that was my patient-license renewal, and I’ll show you a hopelessly befuddled bureaucracy.
Just completed a move back to my beloved hometown of Tulsa after a year stretch in Oklahoma City that included working at a grow for five months. I haven’t mentioned it to very many people. It was a fully legal grow, but I wasn’t rushing to blab about it online and name people and post photos. I sure as hell learned a lot fast about this business while there.
Above is my new card and $10 I plan to spend at a Tulsa dispensary I’ve been excited to check out.
In the meantime, I needed to offload my alerts. I’m aggravated at the moment that legal, Oklahoma cannabis and its positive entrepreneurship stories are virtually nowhere in the news narrative. You can see my frustration in the tone below. Law enforcement and regulators are firmly in control of the story, and that should concern Oklahoma cannabis.
We’ve come so very far. Yeah, black market is a problem. But Oklahoma is also no longer the prison capital of the world, and legal cannabis is pumping money into local coffers. Don’t let the haters forget that.
From Oklahoma and beyond
A man named Matthew Brumley in Foster, Oklahoma, south of Oklahoma City and near Pauls Valley, posed as an agent from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and attempted to extort thousands of dollars from a woman trying to be a compliant cannabis operator.
The city of Cherokee near the state line with Kansas wanted to ban smoking cannabis with a patient license on public sidewalks. I first got this tip from Kalin Bellmard at the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association. Glad to report the city of Cherokee looked at state law and thought better of the ordinance. I wrote earlier this year about attempts in Heavener, Oklahoma, to mandate local inspections and licenses for home grows. I forgive small communities with equally small government infrastructures if they can’t get their meeting minutes online fast enough to comply with Oklahoma’s open-meetings laws. But hey, everyone’s trying to be compliant with burdensome government rules, now aren’t they? I’m less forgiving if I know you have a city attorney paid to review these ordinances before they get rammed through and labeled emergencies.
This is a bold headline from a TV news station that covers Oklahoma but is operated by Texans: “Illegal international drug operations harm local dispensaries.” Perhaps. Thanks, though, Texas. We’ll decide that for ourselves. You’re still laughably unenlightened on cannabis. Note that KXII doesn’t complete Belvin’s grammar in his quotes and lets the stoner image linger. But they clear Woodward’s Okie drug-warrior drawl from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. I could write a whole PhD dissertation about the latent cognitive bias contained in this story.
Medical weed rules are so strict in Louisiana, advocates there fear they’ll run out of flower when new laws kick in that authorize smoking it. We’re sitting on mountains of great cannabis in Oklahoma. And people are stunned that black markets are flourishing.
Speaking of, Schumer’s legalization bill sucks:
A 25% excise tax is insulting
States will still be in control
Complete de-scheduling dooms it politically
Cory Booker isn't an enemy of cannabis, even if he gets money from Big Pharma. Everyone in Congress gets money from Big Pharma. He’s mad, because the bill is junk after months of Schumer promising this great, big cannabis-reform package after repeatedly throwing red meat to a key constituency of the Democratic Party, which is you, cannabis, like it or not.
Here’s the Tulsa World doing an adorable business-trend story about a thing that happens in Oklahoma cannabis everyday: Outside companies using inside growers to expand their brands.
Police in the city of Edmond issued an arrest warrant seeking information about a guy who grew illegal weed. “This kind of thing, unfortunately, can happen anywhere,” Emily Ward, spokesperson for the Edmond Police Department, told Oklahoma City’s KOCO. Don’t be so melodramatic, PIO Ward. The guy’s not wanted on child-sexual assault charges. Let’s dial back the drug-warrior tone.
On the other hand, I have an enormous amount of regard for the Los Angeles Times. Some of my very favorite journalists built their early careers there. Black market is undoubtedly creating huge headaches in California and here in Oklahoma. I just don’t trust drug warriors being designated to fix it. All they want to do is lock everyone up and give each other regional trophies for it. We tried that, PIO Ward. Unfortunately, it didn’t work and cost Oklahoma a fortune and an untold number of wasted lives.
The mother of an epileptic child started a support group for other families in Tulsa considering cannabis as a treatment. But you won’t see PIO Ward from the Edmond Police Department calling epilepsy treatment an unfortunate thing that could happen anywhere.
The Marijuana Policy Project estimates that cannabis has generated $8 billion in tax revenues from adult-use states alone. “This does not include local taxes, revenue from medical marijuana, application-and-licensing fees paid by cannabis businesses, corporate taxes paid to the federal government, or income taxes paid by workers in the cannabis industry, all of which also bolster the American economy.” Before you know it, PIO Ward, cannabis could, unfortunately, be paying your salary and benefits.
Stiff weed regulations are pushing prices through the roof in some states and leaving poorer people unable to get decent cannabis for what ails them. And we wonder why there’s a black market. I was once on Klonopin for crippling anxiety that manifested nastily in my professional journalism career as near-paralyzing panic attacks. I still have difficulty talking about it but happily haven’t touched Klonopin in over two years. Shit is Satan. I took a single Xanax bar earlier this year ahead of some professional stuff when my patient license was still awaiting renewal. It stupefied me. Hated it. Way better off with cannabis and maybe a little of Hunter Thompson’s cough syrup from time to time for bravery. No pills.
I’ve used this space very little to talk about my brother, Mathew Dustin Schulz, who passed away from leukemia at Saint Francis Hospital in 2005 after a long, painful battle with it. Someone recognized me in Tulsa recently and remembered my brother. Chemo wrecked him. I regret everyday that we couldn’t get him better cannabis. He remains one of the smartest, funniest people I’ve ever met and had killer taste in music and art. He couldn’t keep the food down and writhed in pain. It was my old man’s second loss — after he made it back from Vietnam.
Every weed trade publication on the planet re-wrote the Jim Inhofe press release requesting $4 million to fight black market. This guy sharts billion-dollar Defense budgets before getting out of bed. Four million is federal pocket change and a tweet from one of his handlers. Ol’ Jim probably already forgot about it.
This guy in Ohio nearly became one of the only people on earth to die from ingesting weed, and it was because he choked trying to swallow it to avoid getting busted. Trooper had to give him the Heimlich. There’s dash-cam video and everything.
A Mississippi man must serve out a life sentence for an ounce-and-a-half of weed, according to a state appeals court there. Complicating matters is that the defendant had a not-insignificant criminal record and was actually popped with far more than an ounce and a half. But weed was the triggering offense for life, which raises all kinds of fairness questions. Among them: Was it the weed’s fault, or the system’s objection to it the fault? Meanwhile, Mississippi officials are getting advice from Oklahoma about how to not be so insufferably punitive with weed.
Cannabis Now told the back story recently of the federal government’s notorious cannabis patent from 2003. I wrote about cannabis patents early in Green Country Monitor and receive email alerts anytime a new cannabis patent is filed. I’m endlessly fascinated with weed ingenuity.
Cannabis cultivation isn’t sucking up as much water as we thought it was, according to a new study from the University of California Berkeley, which is pretty much ground zero for sustainability. It’s Berkeley. A very funny media friend who knows the Bay Area well once said Berkeley was the only place on earth that DIDN’T need more democracy.
In addition to black market being bad for the image of Oklahoma cannabis, regular gun play at cannabis businesses is also bad for bidness. I’m starting to see security and surveillance companies I used to cover as a homeland-security reporter eye opportunities in cannabis. I don't think they’re wrong to eye those opportunities. I’ve been watching this consultancy for awhile. ISAO is an old homeland-security acronym that means “information sharing and analysis organization.” The only thing protecting cannabis from ransomware right now is the fact that so much of it is mired in cash-handling. That won’t be the case forever.
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