Allow the People to Decide on The Issue of Recreational Marijuana Use!
Should Oklahomans vote to legalise recreational marijuana in next month’s special election, the state could reap the financial benefits of this decision for the next five years, but at what cost?
In the March 7 election, Oklahoma voters will decide on State Question 820, which would legalise recreational marijuana use in the state. Voters could legalise marijuana use and possession for those over the age of 21, allowing them to keep an ounce of marijuana and six mature plants or 12 seedlings.
The long-held belief that marijuana causes social problems versus a tax windfall is at the heart of the state question.
The potential for a billion-dollar industry to be created in the state within the next five years is being touted by proponents of the state question.
A 9-page economic impact and tax analysis report was compiled by Vicente Sederberg LLP and the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association, which found that the Sooner State could earn up to $821 million in combined medical and recreational taxes from 2024 to 2028.
The research demonstrates that tax revenue from marijuana sales can be used to improve funding for a wide range of public services, including education, infrastructure, government, public safety, and drug treatment and rehabilitation.
The 15% excise tax on adult recreational sales, in addition to standard state and local sales taxes, is projected to bring in $821 million in tax revenue, of which $434 million will be new state revenue.
The proceeds from the excise tax will be used to fund the Medical Marijuana Authority, with the remainder being distributed as follows: 30% to general revenue, 30% to public school programmes to reduce substance abuse and increase student retention, 20% to drug addiction treatment programmes, 10% to courts, and 10% to local governments.
Critics of legalisation in the state argue that it would lead to an increase in violence and health problems associated with the underground economy.
Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating now leads the anti-legalization political action committee Protect Our Kids NO 820.
Keating said in a prepared statement, “We simply must protect our children.” This state question is more in-depth than what is presented in the ballot’s summary. This question, for instance, contains a clause that, if it were to be made public, would expressly lower the legal threshold for child endangerment.
It forbids the use of a parent’s marijuana use as a factor in a custody or visitation case. Some of the issues include the ones listed above.
Christianna Wright, an Oklahoma family lawyer, said that while marijuana use or possession could result in unfavourable child court rulings in the past, it is no longer grounds for an emergency custody order for a licence holder.
“The use isn’t the issue, it’s the abuse of marijuana that is the issue,” Wright said. The legal system has “treated medical marijuana use the same way it treats alcohol use.”
She explained that judges decide based on what is best for the child’s welfare.
If you have a young child in the house, “it’s not safe to have bowls of marijuana gummy bears throughout your house,” Wright warns.
The threat of criminal prosecution is another point of opposition to decriminalising marijuana for recreational use.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said in a prepared statement, “Our law enforcement community is just now starting to get a handle on all of the activity around so-called medical marijuana.” “It could be disastrous to go in and pass new laws that further limit the powers of law enforcement.”
If this state question is approved, he said, minors caught using on school property will face a minimum of four hours of counselling.
The Oklahoma Faith Coalition and the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association also support the group, in addition to Kunzweiler.
The group is centring its opposition on several issues, including:
- Permits the smoking of marijuana around children,
- Prohibits courts from considering abuse of marijuana in child custody and visitation cases,
- Does not limit THC content, leading to more severe child overdoses,
- Increased violence,
- Foreign ownership of Oklahoma land,
- Excessive water and electricity usage at grow operations that strain the state’s infrastructure.
Marijuana for Medical Use
Rev. Sam Smith, Pastor of The Freewill Baptist Church in Grove and President of The Grove Ministerial Alliance, Said, “in Northeast Oklahoma, We Have More Marijuana Dispensaries than We Do Dollar General Stores.”
He claims that Any New Construction in The Area Is Either a Dollar General or A Dispensary for Medical Marijuana.
Medical Marijuana Has Been Legalised in Oklahoma Since June 2018 After State Question 788 Was Approved by Voters.
The Measure Was Defeated by Voters in Ottawa, Delaware, and Craig Counties.
Voters in Craig County Said No (54.81% to 45.19%), Voters in Ottawa County Said No (53.44% to 46.56%), and Voters in Delaware County Said No (50.51% to 49.49%).