Oklahomans want improvements, but so far most legislators are not listening
On October 1, a poorly conceived DUI law went into effect, making it a criminal offense to drive a vehicle in Oklahoma with any detectable amount of THC or its metabolites in a person’s system, regardless of whether the person is impaired. This new law has little to do with keeping roads safer and will result in safe drivers being arrested and found guilty for DUI days or even weeks after they last used marijuana. We urge voters to contact their representative and senator and ask for a repeal of this awful law. For a more detailed look at the law and related studies, click here.
Voters clearly want a different approach. In September, Oklahoma NORML obtained results from a poll of state voters showing that 71.2% want a medical marijuana program for seriously ill patients who qualify, and 63.7% prefer a simple ticket and fine — without criminal penalties — for adults who possess small amounts of marijuana. So far, state legislators have failed to realize just what their constituents want.
State Senator Connie Johnson has fought hard for more sensible marijuana policies. In 2013, she sponsored medical marijuana legislation — SB 710 and SB 914 — which would have reduced penalties for possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. However, Sen. Johnson can't do it alone. Please ask your legislators to protect medical marijuana patients or to fine — not jail — marijuana consumers.
Also, if you are a patient who could benefit from the medical use of marijuana, a medical professional, or a member of the law enforcement or legal communities, please contact MPP to see how you can be of special help in passing bills to improve marijuana laws in the state.
Learn more about Oklahoma's marijuana laws
With the potential penalty of up to one year in jail, and a mandatory two years for second and subsequent offenses, Oklahoma ranks third in the nation in strict penalties for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana.
Based on reports of arrests provided by state law enforcement to the FBI, in 2011, 90%of all marijuana-related arrests were for possession. During the same year, over 60% of all reported rapes and nearly 90% of all moter vehicle thefts went unsolved! And did you know that African-Americans in Oklahoma are 2.9 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession of marijuana, even though blacks and whites consume marijuana at similar rates? Check out this recent report by the ACLU on how the war on marijuana is often a war on black Americans.
Please also take a minute to ask your legislators to end this destructive and wasteful policy by legalizing marijuana for adults and regulating it like alcohol.
If you have not done so already, please subscribe to our free legislative alert service to stay up-to-date on the status of marijuana policy reform in Oklahoma.