Is marijuana legal in Oklahoma?
The long and short answer to this question is a resounding “no.” Oklahoma is one of the states that has kept marijuana illegal, but also has instituted some of the toughest laws and sentences for possession and distribution of marijuana.
But this may change soon. According to the Oklahoma chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), a majority of Oklahoma’s voters indicated in a survey that they would support the legalization of medical marijuana use as well as the de-penalization of pot possession for recreational users.
In fact, 71 percent of survey participants indicated they would support a change to state law that would allow cannabis to be used for therapeutic purposes, joining 20 other states that enacted similar laws in 1996.
THE HARSHEST OF PENALTIES
Oklahoma has strict penalties for the possession of marijuana, and the same respondents said they would support changes to the criminal laws. Namely, 57 percent said they would like to see marijuana possession penalties change from the arrest and jail time that it currently is to a non-criminal, fine-only offense.
Sixteen other states have already adopted this change, and Colorado and Washington have eliminated all penalties associated with possession of marijuana by adults.
Right now, Oklahoma has some of the harshest marijuana penalties in the country. Distribution of marijuana in any amount can carry a two year to life sentence. Even the most minor subsequent possession carries the stiff punishment of two to 10 years in prison.
How the state can justify sending a marijuana user with a minimal amount of cannabis to prison for 10 years while other states in our country have completely eliminated the criminalization of marijuana is still staggering.
According to the FBI , 90 percent of all marijuana-related arrests in 2011 in Oklahoma were for possession only. In addition, African-Americans in our state are twice as likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana.
In comparison, these strict arrests far exceed the success rate on arrests for violent crime. In the same year, more than 60 percent of all reported rapes went unsolved.
HOPE FOR CHANGE
Hope for change exists, however. Legislators like Sen. Connie Johnson[O3] are leading the charge for more realistic marijuana policies. In 2013, she introduced two bills that would have reduced the penalties for possession of up to 1.5 ounces of pot.
Needless to say, the bills were not successful.
So what can you do? Reach out to your legislators to protect medical marijuana patients or to fine — not jail — marijuana consumers. Those who could benefit from medical marijuana should also reach out to legislators to encourage the legalization of medical use pot.
Is marijuana legal in Oklahoma? No, but with continued efforts toward more realistic policies, maybe one day it will be.
WHERE TO FIND HELP
If you have been arrested for marijuana possession in Oklahoma you need experienced representation. We bring a comprehensive background in drug defense cases and vast resources to protect your rights. Call us today at (405) 703-4567 to schedule an initial consultation.