September 21, 2023

Town councilor advocating for Tulsa to alter its medical marijuana coverage for firefighters and probably different metropolis workers is a licensed hashish grower.

Councilor Grant Miller by no means talked about his involvement within the enterprise when he proposed the concept to his fellow councilors and the mayor at a planning retreat final week.

He argued that the town is endangering workers and contributing to the opioid disaster by not giving its employees the choice of utilizing medical marijuana.

“We’ve got acquired docs handing out prescriptions to metropolis workers and to firefighters for the exact same factor we’re allegedly making an attempt to fight,” Miller mentioned. “It’s a giant downside.”

Miller additionally was tight-lipped about his hashish enterprise throughout his profitable 2022 marketing campaign to unseat incumbent District 5 Councilor Mykey Arthrell.

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His marketing campaign web site mentions his insurance coverage enterprise however makes no point out of his cultivation enterprise. A Tulsa World evaluation of different Miller marketing campaign literature discovered no point out of the topic.

Miller mentioned this week that he hasn’t raised the problem publicly to make sure the security of his workers and clients however that when requested about it he’s acknowledged being within the enterprise.

“The phrase was going round, I imply, … at the least the individuals who have been towards me appeared to suppose that I used to be making an attempt to cover it,” Miller mentioned. “Anytime anybody asks about it, I simply give them an trustworthy reply about it.”

Miller declined to supply the title of his cultivation enterprise however mentioned it opened in Tulsa County in 2021.

“It’s actually so simple as I don’t need to make myself a goal of crime,” he mentioned.

Miller mentioned his colleagues on the Metropolis Council know that he’s within the hashish enterprise and that he assumes Mayor G.T. Bynum does, as effectively.

“I believe most individuals do; it’s been fairly broadly reported throughout social media and in the course of the election cycle,” Miller mentioned. “It’s not prefer it was not on the market.”

Tulsa’s metropolis ordinances don’t prohibit a metropolis councilor from proudly owning or working a hashish enterprise, and whereas Miller is the primary councilor to personal such a enterprise whereas in workplace, he isn’t the primary councilor to work within the trade.

Former Councilor Ben Kimbro was employed by a nationwide hashish firm whereas in workplace, although the agency didn’t do enterprise in Oklahoma on the time.

Whereas a councilor however previous to becoming a member of the hashish firm, Kimbro was a part of a working group put collectively by Bynum to give you land-use insurance policies for the rising medical marijuana trade.

After going to work for the hashish firm, Kimbro recused himself from all medical marijuana points that got here earlier than the Metropolis Council.

Town’s ethics code states partly that public workplace holders and public workers “shall not use their public positions for private acquire nor ought to they act in such a manner as to provide an look of any impropriety.”

Miller scoffed on the suggestion that his function in advocating for modifications to the town’s medical marijuana insurance policies could possibly be seen as benefiting him personally.

“It will be fairly absurd to say that a couple of hundred individuals being allowed to decide on medical hashish as an alternative of prescription opioids goes to profit me,” Miller mentioned. “I suppose you’ll be able to by some means attempt to make some attenuated connection there, however that will be, truthfully, an enormous stretch to say that.”

Miller famous that he was advised this week by the town Authorized Division that he has no battle of curiosity underneath the town’s ethics code and that he can take part in discussions concerning metropolis personnel insurance policies. The Tulsa World confirmed Miller’s assertion with the town.

The main focus of the general public dialogue, Miller mentioned, needs to be on the issue his proposal is making an attempt to deal with — reducing the chance of opioid habit and attainable job loss amongst metropolis workers by having the town deal with medical marijuana as it could another prescription drugs.

“We’ve got an opioid disaster that’s killing tens of 1000’s of individuals throughout this nation yearly and continues to worsen — this downside hasn’t even crested but — and it’s contributing to the homelessness downside; it’s contributing to children shedding their mother and father,” he mentioned.

“And as a metropolis, we’re telling individuals, ‘Yeah, it’s OK to make use of these sorts of medicine which have massively damaging results in your life, however it isn’t OK to make use of hashish.’”

Shifting ahead, Miller plans to place collectively a Metropolis Council working group to discover the problem additional.

“I’m proud to be within the trade,” he mentioned. “I’m proud to assist individuals and provides them alternate options to the horrible drugs that our metropolis is now pushing on its workers. We’re perpetuating the opioid epidemic as a metropolis, and that could be a actual disgrace.”

Tulsa World Public Security Reporter Kelsy Schlotthauer talks with Editor Jason Collington about why the Tulsa Police Division has a nationwide popularity on the subject of fixing homicides. Schlotthauer wrote a narrative in regards to the Murder Unit’s technique and a number of the traits that appeared within the metropolis’s 69 homicides final 12 months. She additionally talks about what it takes to work a job with a lot mayhem.