On October 31st of this year while kids nationwide were donning their scariest masks and costumes, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) made the truly monstrous move to publish on its website the physical address of every single business that has so far registered to grow, process, or sell medical marijuana under the state’s new cannabis reform law.
The OMMA didn’t see any need to notify or warn any of these businesses and is quick to point to the fine print on all medical marijuana licensing applications that says that all info herein may become public record.
“We were inundated with requests to share grower’s addresses and, because they’re public records, we had to reply,” said Melissa Miller, the communications director for the Authority, adding, “We thought it would be easier to make the list public.”
Hey, whatever’s easiest, right?
Well, having such a list go out to anyone with an internet connection sure did make it easier for thieves to ransack one of the farms on the list shortly after that list was made public.
Just four days after the list was published, an Oklahoma couple made a trip to their family farm to begin preparations for their planned legal medical marijuana cultivation operation. When they got there, they found tools stolen, cabinets emptied, and even their electrical junction box tampered with.
They found little sympathy from OMMA who chastised the couple for failing to have proper security measures in place, as required by the new pot law.
In fact, OMMA has taken a hardline stance on the matter, refusing to acknowledge any guilt about their hare-brained decision at the end of last month. They offer that if any business is wary of being on their list, which they vow to continue to update and republish regularly, all that biz has to do is surrender its license and go out of business.
For the couple who was looted already, that’s an easy decision.
They value their own personal safety more than potential profits and now refuse to move onto the property or move forward with the proposed pot plantation. They don’t even feel comfortable renting the property now that it is on the radar of local criminals.
So who was making all of these alleged requests to have this info made public?
It is purely speculation at this point, but considering that there is absolutely no need for this to be public knowledge and the fact that there is no upside for the state or for applicants to enact this policy, cannabis advocates in Oklahoma have their own sneaking suspicions about who is behind this breach of privacy.
Although medical marijuana passed resoundingly earlier this year in Oklahoma, there were still tens of thousands of residents who vehemently opposed its passage. Now, with their hands tied behind their back, it may very well be the pot prohibitionists that are behind this charade with a goal of disincentivizing production to create disruptions in supply and demand with an ultimate goal of crippling or killing the upstart legislation.
As we have seen in recent months with major corporations, like Facebook for example, privacy is often treated like another product or asset, instead of with the deference and respect that it deserves.
Cannabis, even in legal states, still carries a negative stigma with many Americans, and those opposed to legalization efforts are not only working overtime to perpetuate that stigma, but they are actually starting to weaponize it.
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