Recent Articles

Reducing Childhood Trauma May Impact Addiction, Incarceration Rates

With the upcoming task force formed by Senate Bill 1517, I am confident Oklahoma has taken a major step forward in overcoming the high rate of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) that impacts our residents. For those of you not familiar with ACEs, this is the study of childhood trauma and the associated health-related conditions which follow into adulthood.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration as well as lifelong health and opportunity. As such, early experiences are an important public health issue. In Oklahoma, they are particularly relevant, as multiple research organizations have consistently ranked our state as having one of the highest rates of ACEs in the nation. The study which discovered the links to childhood trauma and adult health was the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and later-life health and well-being. Continue Reading →

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Voters Ignored as State Officials Act to Gut State Question 788

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today approved new rules created by the Oklahoma State Department of Health that are designed to hamstring the medical cannabis program overwhelmingly approved by voters with the passage of State Question 788. The rules include a prohibition on the sale of cannabis that can be smoked, a prohibition on many edible medical cannabis products, and an overly burdensome provision that all medical cannabis dispensaries must have a pharmacist on hand. New Health Solutions Oklahoma, the trade group for Oklahoma’s medical cannabis industry, said the new rules directly contradicted the will of voters. NHSO has repeatedly called on Governor Mary Fallin to call a special legislative session to help implement State Question 788. “By refusing to show leadership and call a special session, the governor’s office has handed over the implementation of Oklahoma’s medical cannabis program to a group of bureaucrats that are beholden to the special interest groups that fought State Question 788,” said NHSO Political Director Jed Green. “The people making policy now are the same people who ran a million dollar smear campaign aimed at convincing Oklahomans that smoking medical cannabis would lead to the collapse of society.”

Green said the requirement to put pharmacists in dispensaries was a giveaway to a special interest group that will profit from the new rules at the expense of other Oklahomans. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma Board of Health Rolls Back Medical Cannabis Laws

Medical Cannabis Supporters: Will of Voters Overturned

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Board of Health today took steps to gut Oklahoma’s fledgling medical cannabis program, despite a landslide electoral victory and the support of over 507,000 voters who supported legalization. In split decisions, the Board voted to ban all smokable cannabis products from being sold in dispensaries, banned many edible products and put in place a new requirement for pharmacists to be present in all dispensaries. This comes even though SQ 788 contained explicit language legalizing both smokable and edible marijuana and outlined guidelines for dispensaries. Members of New Health Solutions Oklahoma (NHSO), the state’s trade group for medical cannabis businesses, said the OSDE Board had usurped the will of the people and insulted voters. They called on Governor Mary Fallin to reject the additional rules and, if she fails to act, asked the Legislature to return to the Capitol in a special session to ensure State Question 788 is implemented as voters intended and expected it to be. Continue Reading →

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Medical Cannabis Industry Calls for Special Legislative Session to Implement State Question 788

OKLAHOMA CITY – The trade group for Oklahoma’s medical cannabis industry, New Health Solutions Oklahoma (NHSO), is calling on Governor Mary Fallin to reverse her decision and convene a special legislative session to pass laws aimed at implementing State Question 788. “The governor’s announcement that she will not pursue a Special Session is not a victory for medical cannabis; it is a failure of leadership,” said NHSO Executive Director Bud Scott. “Treating sick Oklahomans with medical cannabis requires establishing a new and very complex industry that includes growers, processing facilities, distributors, dispensaries, medical research, security and technology companies and a variety of other professional services. All of these sub-industries, and the thousands of jobs they represent, require responsible legislation establishing an orderly and fairly regulated marketplace. The governor has now left the state without a path to establishing such a marketplace, even as the deadline for implementing SQ 788 remains less than 30 days away. It is a decision that no responsible Oklahoman should be happy with. Continue Reading →

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Consumer Alert: Legitimate Medical Cannabis Industry Warns of Sham Marijuana “Clinics”

OKLAHOMA CITY – New Health Solutions Oklahoma (NHSO), the trade group for the medical cannabis industry in Oklahoma, today issued a consumer alert warning Oklahomans to be wary of any business that is currently promising medical marijuana, future access to medical marijuana, or referrals to doctors who will prescribe medical marijuana. Although State Question 788 passed on Tuesday, the State Health Department has not issued any licenses to sell or grow medical marijuana and cannot do so until late July. Businesses promising medical marijuana services today are either acting illegally or are deceiving customers. NHSO’s announcement comes after reports of “cannabis clinics” opening in the state. NHSO Executive Director Bud Scott said that any businesses billing themselves as a cannabis or medical clinic or dispensary was mispresenting itself and doing a disservice to the public. Continue Reading →

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Medical Cannabis is Legalized After State Question 788 Passes

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma voters made the compassionate decision to legalize medical marijuana with the passage of State Question 788. Bud Scott, the Executive Director of New Health Solutions Oklahoma, Inc., the trade association for the medical cannabis industry in Oklahoma, said the vote was a victory for Oklahomans who are suffering from a variety of medical conditions. “Almost all of us know someone who is suffering from cancer, PTSD, seizures, or one of the dozens of medical conditions and illnesses that medical cannabis is proven to be effective in treating,” said Scott. “This vote was a victory for them. I am proud and honored to have worked alongside thousands of Oklahomans who pushed for this change.”

“The will of the people is clear: they want Oklahomans to have access to this medical product,” said Scott. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma Health Department Restores Contracts for Child Abuse Prevention

It has not been a good year for the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), as the agency has been rocked by the discovery of widespread financial mismanagement and neglect, followed by the resignation of several agency leaders.  As was widely reported, tens of millions of dollars were shifted from federal grants to state programs, a clear conflict with potential legal concerns.  Even more frustrating, the redirection appears to have been unnecessary; it was later discovered that other agency accounts held enough state dollars to cover costs without the improper use of federal funds. Bringing this agency into compliance and restoring accountability will likely be a priority for all lawmakers and will require a significant investment to modernize the agency’s accounting system, which is apparently hopelessly outdated and ineffective. While that is certainly necessary, it is important not to let other key priorities fall by the wayside, especially projects that support children and families or that fund preventative measures that protect families from hardship or tragedy. Since the turnover in administration, I am pleased that interim Director Tom Bates, former special advisor to Governor Fallin on DHS issues, has helped “right the ship” with many agency directives and restored a clear focus to their mission. For instance, OSDH has said they will restore $2 million dollars in funding for the Office of Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP) for State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2019. Continue Reading →

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Critics of Medical Marijuana Ignore Facts: Legalization Reduces Opioid Abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY – As Oklahoma nears the June 26 ballot referendum on medical marijuana, new scientific studies continue to show that legalization is directly correlated to reducing opioid abuse and opioid deaths.  

In one study, Dr. Hefei Wen of the University of Kentucky and Dr. Jason M. Hockenberry of Emory University report that passage of medical marijuana laws is followed by a reduction in opiate prescriptions of nearly 6 percent. In a second study, Dr. David Bradford and Dr. Amanda Abraham from the University of Georgia concluded that medical marijuana laws are associated with an 8.5 percent reduction in opioid doses filled by Medicare Part D recipients. Bud Scott, the executive director for New Health Solutions Oklahoma, a trade group for the medical cannabis industry, said opponents of medical marijuana are running out of excuses to deny a potentially life-saving product to sick Oklahomans. “The facts are in and the science is there,” said Scott. Continue Reading →

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OICA Candidate Surveys Are Now Available Online

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is pleased to be a key partner in “2018: Oklahoma Year of the Child,” an effort to encourage interest in children’s issues with candidates for office.  OICA compiled a list of what we felt were the top twenty positive bills from this past legislative session so voters can see who supported child-friendly potential laws.  We have also undertaken the task of reaching out to candidates to ask them three simple questions.  The full results, including candidate surveys, will be uploaded by Wednesday, June 20 to oica.org under the legislative tab (or directly at http://oica.org/legislation/candidate-questionnaire/candidate-questionnaire-results/). The survey questions are:

What ideas/policies will you pursue to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children? For example, what laws or policies will you champion, what programs will you attempt to expand or decrease, and what area of interest regarding children will you establish yourself as a leader amongst your colleagues. What have you done to support children prior to this election? For example, discuss policies which you have had a direct impact in seeing implemented, what volunteer work have you personally done to improve the lives of children, or have you had a job which has worked with kids. Continue Reading →

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Vision Health Professionals Warn Patients About Walmart-Backed State Question

Eye doctors oppose corporate control of vision health
OKLAHOMA CITY – Eye doctors and vision health professionals across the state are working to educate their patients about the dangers of a proposed ballot measure that would erode the quality of vision-care in Oklahoma. The measure, State Question 793, is backed by Walmart and would amend the Oklahoma Constitution so that Walmart could offer optometry services. A Walmart-backed political group has been collecting signatures from Walmart-shoppers for the last several weeks. The group announced today it has enough signatures to place the measure on the November ballot. Joel Robison, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians (OAOP), said Walmart’s paid signature gatherers and political operatives are not being honest about the issue. Continue Reading →

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