Cody Barlow's fight to bring medical marijuana to Oklahoma is perosnal.
When you think of legal cannabis, chances are that Oklahoma is not the first state that comes to mind. However, just recently, Oklahoma citizens pulled together enough signatures on an initiative petition to get medical marijuana on the ballot this coming June. This come as great news to people like Cody Barlow, who desperately need safe access to medical cannabis.
Barlow is a U.S. Navy Veteran from Oklahoma that is advocating for medical cannabis legalization. He currently takes 9,000 prescription pills per year from the Department of Veteran Affairs. But, Barlow says that cannabis is the only medicine that has truly helped him with PTSD, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain that he suffers from due to his time serving our country in the military. You can learn more about Barlow’s story from a recent Facebook post from Legalize It, Don’t Criticize It.
Barlow explains, “Safe access to medical cannabis is very important, and it is necessary to ensure that production, regulation and sales are done in a professional and healthy manner. It helps to cut down on funding of criminal operations and organizations. Legalization also ensures that people do not inadvertently ingest other potentially dangerous and deadly substances that illegal dealers may lace the cannabis with, and would help give back to the community with the tax money from the regulated sale of cannabis.”
Barlow says that even though he supports veterans, he is not focusing his advocacy toward any specific demographic and agrees that everyone deserves access to a safe alternative medicine.
“Cannabis is much safer than the pharmaceutical drugs that I am prescribed,” Barlow told us. “The pharmaceutical drugs that I take come with many side effects including migraines, nausea, insomnia, fits of rage, sweating, dizziness, blurred vision, blood in the stool, pain in the abdominal region, severe dehydration, memory loss, impairs cognitive functioning, causes severe numbness to the world and dissociation, can increase symptoms of depression and suicidal ideations and more.”
Oklahomans for Health and Yes on 788
Recently Barlow met Bridget Wood, a board member and the media coordinator for Oklahomans for Health (OK4H). OK4H is the organization that was largely responsible for getting the signatures on the petition and is now part of the Yes on 788 campaign. OK4H is dedicated to the legalization and implementation of medical marijuana for the people of Oklahoma.
When asked specifically about Cody Barlow’s story, Wood commented, “Cody, despite his fears, told his story and got a very powerful reaction because people can empathize with him. Here we have a young man who went out into the world to serve his country and the least we can do is take good care of him when he comes home. It just doesn’t make sense not to. I appreciate his bravery in stepping up to speak for those who cannot, I know it is a tough thing to do and I respect him very much.”
Wood has been an activist for years and has been on the board of OK4H since 2014. She acknowledges that Oklahoma is a tough place to stand up for something that you risk incarceration for. She added, “especially when you are sick, no one wants to die in prison. I think thats the number one hurdle if we are really going to get down to it.”
Wood told me that cannabis education is big hurdle they have to face in the heartland. I believe this is the case all over the U.S., but especially in prohibition states.
“We have to ensure that the people of the state of Oklahoma understand the medical benefits of cannabis. The science is there, people deserve the right to choose a safe and effective medicine without the side effect of death. I am heading more into formal public education on the benefits of medical marijuana to ensure as many people as possible can know the science behind the endocannabinoid system and the benefits of full plant medicine.”
Oklahoma Senator Connie Johnson Supports 788
Oklahoma might just have a shot...in addition to Question 788 being on the ballot, they have a gubernatorial candidate who has been outwardly supportive of medical cannabis legalization.
“I want to change our policies of mass incarceration behind charges of simple possession of marijuana,” Johnson said. “I think the voters have indicated they have a desire to change our policies in that regard. As a mother of the medical marijuana movement, I’m looking forward to the voters getting to vote next year on state Question 788.”
Currently, the vote for medical cannabis in Oklahoma has been set for June 26th. Barlow says he wants to reach as many people as possible before then, to educate potential voters and to help correct the negative preconceived notions about cannabis with the truth.
Barlow says, “this is a very conservative state, but there is a large following of supporters as well.”
I will be covering this more between now and June, as there is nothing I would like to see more than another legalized state in America’s heartland.