Conservative Oklahoma grandfather changed his mind on marijuana, here’s why

OKLAHOMA CITY – Two very distinct groups spent much of the day trying to convince legislators that Oklahoma’s marijuana laws just don’t work.

One group rallied to show their support for regulation and sale of the drug in the Sooner State.

The other group was part of a Senate hearing at the Oklahoma Capitol.

Leaders were attempting to evaluate the science behind using oil extracted from the plant to treat illnesses, such as diabetes and epilepsy.

Marty Piel was one of those who spoke at the hearing.

Piel said, “A year ago, I might not have been a supporter. I’m a conservative in a conservative state and I might not have believed, but I do now.”

In his emotional testimony, Piel talked about his granddaughter Zoey.

The young girl suffers from a rare disorder that causes her to have seizures.

Piel said, “She had seizures and the doctors just said she would grow out of it.”

However, she didn’t.

By the age of four, Zoey was taking 24 prescription medications.

Piel said, “You look at this baby and think she could die. She could die right now and no one can tell me why or how to save her.”

Within the last few months, Zoey’s family has taken her to Colorado.

Once there, she received her first dose of cannabis oil.

She was given less than a teaspoon full of the oil and within 15 minutes, she stopped seizing.

Piel said, “In the first eight days after that, she said 20 new words and wrote her name for the first time.”

Stories like Zoey’s were told to lawmakers Wednesday during the hearing.

The goal was not to vote, but to educate them on the difference between recreational marijuana and cannabis oil, which is used for medicinal purposes.

Piel says a year ago, he would never have imagined supporting something like this.

After seeing Zoey’s progress, he’s now a believer.

Piel said, “As a parent or grandparent, it brings tears to your eyes to know something might actually save that little life.”

Those who were part of the hearing were actually not in favor of the rally, which was also taking place at the capitol.

They hope lawmakers can see the difference in the two issues.