Church coalition to host seminar on medical pot
Two northeast Oklahoma City churches are part of a coalition intent on educating the community about important issues.
The Community Alliance for Healthy Aging, which includes Redeemer Lutheran Church, Trinity Presbyterian Church and New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church, has hosted forums for older adults on Medicare, disaster preparedness, Social security and end-of-life decision making.
Now, the alliance has turned its attention to a timely topic: medical marijuana.
It is sponsoring an informational seminar entitled "Medical Marijuana: Separating the Facts from the Hype" from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department Northeast Regional Health and Wellness Campus, 2600 NE 63. The free event will include a continental breakfast and light refreshments.
The Rev. Brian Campbell, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran, said the topic of medical marijuana came up on evaluation forms that previous forum attendees filled out. He said he wasn't surprised that people seemed interested in the issue because medical marijuana dispensaries are popping up everywhere, and the community has been more open to talking about it. Also, he said some members of the community know others who have a prescription for medical marijuana.
"It's an issue of concern for the members of our congregations and the communities we are located in. It is something that the state has legalized, and it is something that could possibly help someone. Why shouldn't we talk about it?" he said.
The pastor said the topic has been a source of humor when people learn that it is the focus of the coming seminar.
"This topic has sparked more interest than the last couple of seminars ... once you get past the initial giggling," he said.
Many older adults generally grew up thinking of marijuana only as an illegal substance — something with a "stigma" attached to it. He said many of them have not viewed marijuana products for medicinal purposes, so they are curious about it now.
"For the audience of this seminar, it was something that was illegal, but I tell them this is not the marijuana you all are familiar with. It is a different entity. It has been designed to do different things, and it may help you."
Campbell said the alliance put together a panel of individuals who come from both sides of the medical marijuana issue — those who advocate its use and those who oppose it. He said that is important because the alliance did not want people to think it was endorsing the use of medical marijuana, but simply trying to educate community members.
"We want to present information for the community and not say do this or do that but to say 'Here's the information for you so you can make good decisions for yourself.' "
Senior Seminar: Medical Marijuana
When: 9 a.m. to noon Thursday. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Oklahoma City-County Health Department Northeast Regional Health and Wellness Campus, 2600 NE 63.
Cost: Free; No preregistration necessary.
Information: Redeemer Lutheran Church, 427-6863; email email@example.com.