Oklahoma Voters to Decide on Statewide Recreational Marijuana Legalization: Will Children's Safety Be Compromised?

Oklahomans will soon vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana statewide in the upcoming March 7 polls. Michelle Tilley, the campaign director for Vote Yes on 820, Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, stated that a majority of the state's residents support recreational marijuana legalization. They are tired of seeing people being jailed for minor marijuana offenses when the use of marijuana for recreational purposes is widely accepted. Currently, medical marijuana cardholders are taxed 7%, but if the proposed measure passes, recreational customers will be taxed 15%.

According to a report from Vicente Sederberg LLP and the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association, the state stands to gain $821 million in tax revenue within the first five years of legalization. Tilley said that this would mean tens of millions of dollars every year going towards schools, local governments, and law enforcement, which would allow them to focus on more critical issues rather than chasing minor marijuana offenses.

On the other hand, Pat McFerron of Protect our Kids, Vote No 820, opposes the legalization of recreational marijuana, citing the group's concerns about the harm to children. McFerron claimed that State Question 820 changes the threshold for child endangerment, allowing for the use of marijuana around infants and toddlers. He expressed concern about the sharp increase in those under five years old being poisoned by ingesting marijuana, which could be further exacerbated by legalizing recreational marijuana.

The group also alleges that medical marijuana has increased organized crime in Oklahoma and created other problems. They fear that the passage of Question 820 would put the state and its law enforcement back at square one in trying to get a handle on the medical marijuana industry.

If voters approve the measure, it will go into effect three months after the vote. Just like in Missouri, anyone 21 and older can purchase recreational marijuana, regardless of their state of residence.

  1. References:

    1. "Marijuana legalization will be on the ballot in Oklahoma in March" by Kyle Schwab, The Oklahoman, November 27, 2022. URL: https://www.oklahoman.com/story/news/drugs/marijuana/2022/11/27/marijuana-legalization-will-be-on-the-ballot-in-oklahoma-in-march/69658006007/

    2. "Will Oklahoma be the next state to legalize marijuana?" by NORML, January 4, 2023. URL: https://norml.org/blog/2023/01/04/will-oklahoma-be-the-next-state-to-legalize-marijuana/

    3. "Kush Gardens - Lawton" by Kush Gardens USA, accessed on February 16, 2023. URL: https://info.kushgardensusa.com/kush-gardens-lawton


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