As Oklahomans prepare to vote on a state question regarding medical marijuana, members of the medical and healthcare community are at odds.Rep. Dale Derby, R-Owasso, has been an actively practicing physician of 44 years. He says he is against the way SQ788 is written.
“They are pushing it as medical marijuana, and it’s not medical marijuana. It’s more recreational marijuana,” said Rep. Derby.
He told News 4 one of the biggest concerns over the initiative is the vagueness and the lack of specific medical reasons determining how patients would qualify.
“People coming in saying they have headaches or they have irritable bowel syndrome and they want a license. It`s not a prescription,” he said. “It`s a license and it`s a license for two years, and there`s no medical follow-ups.”
Oklahoma native Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, a board certified physician practicing in Washington state, spoke at a 788 information session at Andrews Park in Norman on Saturday. According to Dr. Aggarwal, the state question is currently written vaguely for a reason.
“The vagueness is because we don`t want to put all the details in the initiative. We want the details be worked out,” Dr. Aggarwal told News 4.
Dr. Aggarwal explained medical marijuana has proven to be effective in treating things like spasms and even in chemotherapy.
“Every drug that doctors prescribe can be given for any condition, so that`s not a problem. It`s all about knowing what are the appropriate conditions. Many drugs we have an FDA label for one condition, but we use those drugs for numerous conditions,” he told News 4.
Rep. Derby said under the current language of the ballot, it would be very difficult to regulate. He told News 4 if the state question passes, the Legislature must later put in rules and regulations.
“But then that’s going to be immediately challenged in a court case and it’ll be up to the courts to decide whether the legislation and the rules and regulations we put into place will be held up or will they uphold the ballot measure, and nobody knows the answer to that,” Rep. Derby explained.
Aggarwal said the initiative is asking doctors to be nothing more than “reasonable and prudent” in their practice.
“You don’t need the FDA’s stamp of approval to use a traditional medicine. You just need to use your common sense,” he said.
Voters will decide on State Question 788 on June 26.