Things are heating up in Oklahoma. At a recent community forum on State Question 788, the state’s medical marijuana initiative up for a vote on June 26, an MMJ advocate and co-founder of Oklahomans for Health Chip Paul was grabbed by the throat and escorted out by an angry local sheriff.
Chip Paul said the forum started much the same as others he’d attended although this one was put on by the sheriff’s department, so advocates assumed it would be a bit different.
“We intended to sit in the back of the room like we have at some of these other no-forums,” Paul told the Claremore Daily Progress. “I was sitting in the back of the room and for some reason I had two sheriff’s deputies standing behind me at all times. I reached around and shook one of their hands and said thank you, I support law enforcement.”
Paul said during the presentation, he raised his hand a couple of times to ask questions but never said or did anything disruptive.
When the presenter made a comment about the endocannabinoid system, a topic Paul has researched extensively, he turned around and remarked, “this is so frustrating.”
That was when Sheriff Scott Walton attacked him. “Before I knew it I had sheriff Walton in my face, screaming that if this was so frustrating I could ‘get the hell out,’” said Paul.
Paul apologized for speaking out of turn but the sheriff grabbed Paul by the throat and forced him out.
Paul said there were “deputies all around, trying to keep people from filming and keep people from coming outside.”
As of Tuesday morning, videos of the meeting were circulating on social media.
“It’s hard not to get emotional about this,” said Paul. “But this has never happened to me, I’m a law-abiding businessman.”
Paul said he didn’t not know if the Claremore sheriff “singled him out” or knew who he was.
“You guys have a real problem in Claremore if you have someone that can become that unhinged and wears a gun, that’s a real problem.”
Oklahoma residents will vote on medical marijuana June 26. Under this plan, physicians — not lawmakers — will have the final say on making health care decisions involving the use of medical cannabis.