The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

June 6, 2014

Forum: House Dist. 40 hopefuls talk pot, education, philosophy

ENID, Okla. — GOP candidates for Enid’s open House seat both say the state’s pot policy should be studied, and neither staked a hard-line position on whether it should be legalized for medical or recreational use.

Mike Stuber and Chad Caldwell told the Enid Noon AMBUCS today that they would support more research.

Stuber said he hadn’t thought about the issue until two weeks ago.

“I don’t really have an opinion as of yet,” he said, although his first reaction when discussing the topic was to balk at the idea. “But that’s a gut reaction based just on my Oklahoma upbringing.”

There has been a wave of states that have either approved marijuana for medicinal use or decriminalized it enough so that possession only results in a small fine. Colorado and Washington are the only states that have approved it for recreational use.

“I think there’s propaganda on both sides of the issue, and you have to look at the actual facts — the studies, and I would like to visit with doctors to find out what the real effects of it are,” said Stuber, who currently is an Enid City Commissioner.

He also noted that it could present issues for law enforcement, although it eventually could lessen the strain on the state’s prison system.

“You have to look at the whole issue and the ramifications of going either way,” Stuber said.

Caldwell, who originally is from Colorado, agreed that the issue deserves study, but he is wary of any medical benefits.

“Legalizing marijuana hasn’t been quite the utopia that you have all been led for to believe. There are still plenty of issues (in Colorado),” he said.

As executive director of Hospice Circle of Love, Caldwell talks with doctors on a regular basis. He said the ones he’s chatted with about marijuana are skeptical it can do good.

“Their message to me was that the (health) claims, in their opinion, have been grossly exaggerated – but also have been grossly understated about the harm it can do to the individual,” he said. “I have to rely on those folks. They’re the experts in their field. I’m going to go with their expertise.”

Caldwell and Stuber will face each other in the June 24 Republican primary. In November the winner will face Pierce Jones, the only Democrat running for the Oklahoma House of Representatives in District 40.

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