If a person makes one minor mistake with marijuana, they can land in jail and be saddled with a life-long criminal record that can make it hard to get a job, an apartment, student loans, or a credit card. This law will prevent unnecessary arrests and allow people to clean their record.
In states that have legalized, arrests for simple marijuana offenses are down 70 to 90 percent — freeing up time and money for the state to focus on more serious issues. Fewer arrests also means our courts aren’t clogged with petty marijuana cases.
Eighteen other states, including Montana and Arizona, have legalized marijuana for adults. In those states, licensed marijuana businesses have to follow regulations and pay taxes. Stores check IDs and products are tested by laboratories to ensure safety. Residents in regulated states overwhelmingly like the new policy, and no state that’s passed legalization has repealed their law and reinstated prohibition.
For many Oklahomans with health conditions, including veterans with PTSD and cancer patients, marijuana is the only medicine that relieves their pain and suffering without debilitating side effects. But patients have to join a government registry to access the program. This measure will remove barriers and make it easier for patients to alleviate their health conditions with marijuana.
State Question 820 will create a sensible program tailored to Oklahoma, carefully balancing personal freedom with responsible regulation. Products will be tested, labeled, and tracked from seed-to-sale; employers will be able to maintain a drug-free workplace; and it keeps penalties in place for anyone who gives marijuana to someone under 21.
In states that have legalized marijuana, tax revenue has provided funding for vital public services. Oklahoma would generate millions of dollars every year from taxes on recreational marijuana---money that can be used to increase funding for our schools, improve our roads, protect public safety, and provide drug treatment and other health care services.