Medical Cannabis: A Different Perspective

The details on Oklahoma State Question 788 can be found here word for word: SQ-788

But let’s talk about why you should vote YES for this proposal on June 26th, regardless of your stance on the legitimacy or morality of medical cannabis and regardless of your political party affiliation.

For too long politicians in Oklahoma have been bought and paid for by two major power-brokers in America. They are the oil industry and the pharmaceutical companies. For example, my potential opponent and Republican incumbent in CD-2, Congressman Markwayne Mullin, has already received almost $200,000 from those two industries for his 2018 midterm election. (See

Approving 788 would begin a miraculous process of ending the pharmaceutical monopoly that corrupts our public servants in Oklahoma and has a vested interest in continuing the opioid crisis, which I’ll get to.

A vote for the legalization of medical cannabis, prescribed by state-certified physicians, would show the Oklahoma establishment of both the Republican and Democratic Parties that Oklahoma is not for sale. It would show we are tired of the misinformation intentionally being spread on Facebook and television by our politicians who seemingly care more about funding their campaigns than personal integrity or compassion for Oklahoma’s health patients.

The opioid crisis and the understated Methamphetamine epidemic would both be dealt a severe blow by the passage of the 788 proposal, as well as the black market for cannabis. Legalization of medical cannabis will not eradicate these, but it would absolutely help. The reason it would help with the opioid crisis is simple: cannabis is a natural alternative to hard drugs/prescriptions. Medical cannabis is used for pain relief, nausea relief, the treatment of seizures, PTSD of veterans, and several mental health disorders. The reason it would help fight meth addiction is because it can be used for rehabilitation during recovery and could be prescribed to help with severe insomnia or depression, which studies show often lead to meth addiction in households under the poverty line. It would likely curve the suicide rate in Oklahoma as well, something that matters immensely to me.

People who want to smoke pot for the pleasure of it are already doing so. You are not taking it away from them by voting no on 788. It’s easier for a 5th grader in public school to make money by selling marijuana at recess than it is for him to mow lawns or have a lemonade stand in Oklahoma. If we legalize medical cannabis then we would have more control over it than the black market. It would result in children having a more difficult time getting their hands on recreational cannabis and the allure of it would fade.

Though there are several more reasons to vote yes on 788 regardless of moral or ideological objections, I’d like to share one more here. That is… did you guess it? Individual liberty; which goes hand in hand with individual dignity. As a Libertarian candidate and also a Christian Pastor it is my passionate conviction that liberty solves more problems than most people imagine and certainly more than it could create. I don’t personally believe using cannabis is immoral and I don’t see any Biblical backing that suggests that it is. However, your consideration of 788 shouldn’t be about morality. It should be about liberty.

Oklahoma can take this momentous occasion to prioritize individual liberty over state politics. And that’s all this debate is really about. It’s about choosing your life and freedom or giving control to the government.

Throughout the New Testament we see the notion that individuals have divine dignity. It started in Eden when God created humans in His own image and gave them FREE WILL (aka individual liberty). The relationship between liberty and dignity is a very Christian theme. Individual dignity has been repeatedly soiled by Oklahoma’s preference for the appearance of moral superiority. What I mean is, by choosing regulation over liberty, prohibition over choice, we have neglected to value the dignity of every Oklahoman. When you remove the individual’s liberty to choose what medicine is best for her (between her and the physician) you dehumanize that individual. Further dehumanizing takes place if the person is caught with cannabis. Law enforcement will tear her from her family and throw her in jail next to child molesters and thieves. Even if she isn’t incarcerated this time, her criminal record will make employment difficult to find. For what? For smoking a plant that someone else thinks she shouldn’t smoke!

A yes vote on 788 would bring back a small but important amount of individual liberty and divine dignity back to each person in our state. If using medical cannabis doesn’t precipitate violence toward someone else’s life or property (as alcohol often does) why shouldn’t a doctor and a patient have the freedom to utilize it?

Please… don’t make 788 complicated. It’s not. If you cannot get passed your own inhibitions, please consider letting people who have serious health issues have the option of benefiting from this plant. Let the politicians know they answer to us, not the pharmaceutical companies. Deal some damage to the opioid crisis, to meth addiction, to the suicide rate and to the drug cartels. Prioritize the God-given dignity in people over your own fears and personal convictions by restoring individual liberty, not restricting it.

It’s seriously time, my friends. I urge you to vote yes on SQ-788 and to support the candidates who also endorse it. If I am honored to become your Congressman from CD-2, I will fight the medical cannabis prohibition from my position in Washington D.C. and will act to restore your dignity.  #YourLifeMatters

For life & liberty,

– Richard Castaldo

Grove, Oklahoma

Pastor/Libertarian Candidate for US Congress OK-CD2