Oklahoma Ethics Commission releases list of donors to ‘SQ 788 is Not Medical’

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Ethics Commission has released the list of donors to the 'SQ 788 is Not Medical' movement.

More than $1.2 million was given by organizations, businesses and individuals.

Devon Energy gave $100,000.

“SQ 788 creates numerous challenges for employers, particularly those in industries with a strong emphasis on safety,” said a representative in a statement. “We worked with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and dozens of other leading organizations and individuals to inform voters of the challenges posed by SQ 788.”

The Oklahoma Hospital Association gave $25,000.

“We do not oppose medical marijuana. However, we have been very publicly clear about our concerns with how the State Question was written and its impact on hospital workers and patient safety,” the organization said.

The Oklahoma State Medical Association gave $75,000.

“The 'SQ 788 is Not Medical' Coalition represented a broad-based group of organizations and individuals who opposed this measure for a wide range of reasons. As an organization, we wanted to get Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program right from the start, and felt that SQ 788 was the wrong vehicle to accomplish this,” a representative told us.

The Greater Oklahoma City of Chamber of Commerce gave $190,000.

“We were concerned, as were a lot of our members, that what was on the ballot was not really medical marijuana,” said Roy Williams, the chamber’s president and CEO. “We as an organization support medical marijuana, but we didn’t believe that’s what voters were really voting on when you looked at it.”

Even though 788 passed, the group that wrote the bill said donors to the opposition defied the voters.

“The backbone of those donors are the employees, who it’s safe to assume belong to the 57percent that voted yes,” said Chance Gilbert, president of the Oklahoma Cannabis Trade Association. “Those people did not ask to fund that campaign. Those donors are a result of more behind closed doors deals and uneducated viewpoints. Basically serving as a lens for hatred and personal interests. We will not forget those businesses who tuned their backs on Oklahoma, and the will of the people.”

Chris Benge, Governor Fallin's chief of staff, donated $150.

“As a private citizen, I made a small donation to a group that doesn’t believe State Question 788 is truly a medical marijuana issue," he said. "I felt the state question lacked a proper medical framework and disagreed with the claim that it dealt only with making marijuana available to Oklahomans who need it solely for medical reasons. Very specifically, I have concerns about no qualifying conditions to obtain a two-year license to purchase marijuana, and the law does not require any follow-up visits to a physician. The law as written is not comparable to the process of prescribing medicine as we know it. I thought it was important for the voters to know this in order to make an informed decision."