The Norman Transcript

Opinion

November 13, 2012

Marijuana law is not likely in Oklahoma

NORMAN — The Colorado and Washington votes on Nov. 6 making marijuana legally available won’t have much impact on Oklahoma.

Attempts to make medical marijuana available by prescription have yet to gain traction in the state legislature. The state’s top drug cop has said he would fight such efforts.

Marijuana, according to Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics director Darrell Weaver, is the gateway drug that leads to use of methamphetamine, crack cocaine and heroin.

An Oklahoma state senator, Constance Johnson, has introduced a medicinal marijuana bill every year since she was first elected in 2005. None has received a committee hearing. It’s not likely to come next year either, as Oklahoma lawmakers have crafted some of the toughtest drug penalties in the country. (One law allows a life sentence for drug traffickers who convert marijuana to hashish.)

The state’s biggest drug problem has nothing to do with marijuana. It has to do with prescription painkillers. Oklahoma ranked No. 1 in the nation in prescription painkiller abuse. With the help of physicians, pharmacists and others, the state is quietly cracking down on the practice of “doctor shopping.”

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