There is a place cannabis enthusiasts and patients have been congregating online before State Question 788 was even voted into law.
The r/OKmarijuana subreddit hit 10,000 members last week.
Scotty Biffle, AKA Rude_E_Huxtable, is the founder of the group and a mental health professional from northwest Oklahoma.
“I’m not a fan of Facebook. I think that’s terrible,” Biffle said. “I saw that [State Question] 788 was coming around. I thought it would get killed before it ever got to the voting portion of it. Once I realized that it actually had some legs, I’d just kind of been on Reddit about six, seven months. And I thought, ‘Well, there ain’t nobody else that’s jumping in on this,’ so I just kind of saw an opportunity for people to get together and share information and try to be on the same page collectively instead of scattered to the wind.”
He launched r/OKmarijuana in May 2018 and shared quite a bit of its early content.
“Most of it was from news sites, but it was more along the lines of the political end for me,” Biffle said. “There’s so much money that people were making off of marijuana being illegal around this part of that state. It just got hosed with all this fearmongering and propaganda. You know, ‘If you guys start letting people have cannabis, they’re gonna …’ You know, the old reefer madness trip. I really thought it would just be used to help share information easily for 788. And then once it passed, it just kind of grew from there. At first, it was what dispensaries are gonna open and what products were available. I remember one of the first dispensaries was talking about those Dank Vape carts that ended up being bad news. And then the pricing.”
“Stepping back and just kind of going and looking at it just as a user, I’m really kind of proud of how cool it became.”
While many members and moderators have come and gone, only about 150 accounts have ever been banned from the subreddit in the 21 months since r/OKmarijuana’s birth.
Organizing members“It’s hard for me to keep track of the old members. I’d like to look through there and give some credit,” Biffle said. “I know PizzaBarista, he’s been around since the beginning. He’s a mod. He’s a good guy. ChefSlapChop, he was the main contributor to the subreddit looking the way it did from about the time you were able to purchase at a dispensary up until The Peak opened and he got offered a job and he took it. He messaged me and said, ‘Man, I can’t be a mod anymore.’ I said, ‘Well, you do a fine job.’ He said, ‘Well it’s a conflict of interest and I don’t want to cause any problems,’ so he stepped down. He made a post stating that.”
ChefSlapChop, AKA Alex Jordan, said he taught himself how to code CSS and offered to create the style template for the subreddit.
“Before 788 passed, I was trying to find a cool community on Reddit that could really cater to Oklahoma’s medical marijuana community, and I found the most popular one was r/OKmarijuana. It just looked shabby. There was no style at all to it,” Jordan said. “And as somebody whose mother sent them to rehab and have been in handcuffs and arrested for cannabis and kicked out of school for cannabis, I really wanted 788 to have good information, a good community for information-sharing where people could go and talk about upcoming legislation and upcoming community drives, and I didn’t like how it looked, really. I just didn’t have any pop. So I just kind of out of the blue reached out to the moderator, Rude_E_ Huxtable and said, ‘Hey, man, I’d like to create a style sheet for you guys and kind of make it look a little cleaner just to kind of add a little bit more legitimacy to the movement.’ This was prior to it passing, and none of us really thought that it would ever pass. I myself, I thought Oklahoma would ban dancing before they ever legalized cannabis, and then it passed and there wasn’t any information being organized by anyone and everyone was kind of using it as a platform to ask really repetitive questions like, ‘How do I get a card and what do I do? Where do I find a doctor?’ And so we’ve just started kind of doing mass data collection on resources to go to, scheduling of events to attend and tried to just organize it in a way that was cool. And everything went surprisingly pretty well. I designed kind of what it looks like now, with the exception of a few alterations that have happened since I’ve left.”
Jordan met Corbin Wyatt, the founder of The Peak who now owns Likewise, on the subreddit. A budtender job led to a management position, which keeps him at least as busy as being a moderator did.
“When I left, it wasn’t bittersweet in the least. I was happy to kind of be done,” Jordan said. “It seemed like a full-time job at that point in time that I wasn’t getting paid for, but now stepping back and just kind of going and looking at it just as a user, I’m really kind of proud of how cool it became. ... You have people from all walks of life, all ages, all socioeconomic backgrounds, from all parts of the state, from all sorts of different political persuasions all getting to remain anonymous so they can literally say or do whatever the hell they want. You’re going to get a few hiccups along the way, but for the most part, as you might expect, a cannabis community is pretty chill and pretty nice to each other.”
While being a moderator was a lot of work for Jordan, Biffle has less day-to-day responsibility.
“I don’t personally keep that sub going. It’s the new mod team and the community,” Biffle said. “We have had ups and downs, but this team seems to really work together and the sub is the best it’s been. I would like to see more community involvement with the industry on the sub. In the past, there were issues on both sides; we are headed in a new direction now and would like to see a broad spectrum of members. It is a patient sub first and foremost, not an ad source. No astroturfing or shadiness welcome.”
Moving forward, Biffle is also hoping to build a cancer patient resource for Operation Zero and other discounted Rick Simpson Oil programs. His father-in-law died the same week the subreddit hit 10,000 users, and that inspired the idea of building a network of growers, processors and dispensaries, especially in rural areas. He asks that industry people willing to help contact him. You know where you can find him.