Oklahoma’s ‘Unity Bill’ – Has the Wild West of Weed Been Tamed?

My friends call me a pessimist; I prefer to call myself a realist. I’ll judge how full the glass is, once I know how many milligrams are in it and how long it takes to kick in.

When 788 passed, I was certain the program would be stripped faster than my uncle that one time he decided to see how far he could take things with TSA.

Well, as it turns out, the glass was half-full! Lots of milligrams, very fast onset. Our beautiful medical cannabis program has — in a single year — become the fastest growing cannabis market in the country. So far (crossing fingers) that victory remains intact.

Oklahoma House Bill 2612, a wide-sweeping body of regulations dubbed the “Unity Bill,” went into effect August 29. Happy news, friends: It has not stripped us of the aspects that make Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program so comprehensive and successful. From my read, it aims to remove a bit of the wild from our west, with changes that seem reasonable (even to this infamous pessimist)!

Here a few of the mostly happy highlights of the Unity Bill:

License Fee Reduced to $20 for Disabled Vets

I am all for any program that seeks to support the servicemen and women of our country. As of now, the application fee that must be given to our OMMA overlords for the distinct privilege of enjoying medical cannabis has been reduced to $20 dollars for 100 percent disabled veterans! The fee for everyone else is $100.

Veterans, I feel your service was worth far more than the $80 this new rule saves you, but I feel good knowing that Oklahoma’s medical cannabis program is doing what it can to accommodate our veterans.

Protections for (Some) Employees

Have you been putting off applying for that mid-level management position at T-Mobile for fear you will be unjustly discriminated against for your cannabis use? Now you don’t have to worry! Probably.

The Unity Bill has made it illegal for a business to discriminate against medical cannabis users solely based on testing positive for THC metabolites.

But there’s a catch. If you have a job deemed ”safety sensitive,” you’re out of luck. No one wants you out there operating a crane or controlling air traffic when you’re high. But there is a problematic grey area: “safety sensitive” is undefined — determined solely by the business. Employees of Whirlpool in Tulsa remind us how capitalists tend to operate and why cool kids call boycotts.

NRA and OMMA? No Problem

Federal law prohibits “illicit drug users” from legally owning firearms. And the feds consider cannabis an “illicit drug.” But Oklahomans wanted their guns and their weed, and gun lobbyists lawmakers responded. Through Unity Bill, the state is protecting the rights of Oklahoma medical marijuana patients to own firearms.

New Product Testing, Package & Label Requirements

There are very few places in my life where I seek ambiguity when it comes to things I’m willingly putting inside my body. Zero places, actually. You should absolutely want to know what’s in your medical cannabis. Now you will!

With implementation of the Unity Bill, all cannabis products are required to be tested by certified laboratories. The absurd thing about this provision is the Catch 22 it creates for growers and processors: HB 2612 requires products to be tested by a licensed laboratory…but applications for laboratory licenses aren’t yet available. Oops.

Gone are the days of buying ambiguous green plant matter from some guy in a parking lot. Now, the label on your medical marijuana is required to list info on product potency and contaminants testing.

These changes will help patients tune in to medication helpful for ailments more serious than occasional headaches and the severe anxiety induced by the thought of running out of cannabis.

Weirdly enough, the reality of medical marijuana in Oklahoma has made me a more positive person. There is absolutely more work to be done, but overall, this program has been some of the first largescale positive change that I’ve actually been able to experience and feel in my daily life. All it took was weed, weird.

Read OMMA’s summary of these and other changes here.

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