Let Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Marijuana For Recreational Use!

Let Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Marijuana For Recreational Use!

Voters in Oklahoma’s next special election on recreational marijuana might bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue over the next five years, but at what cost? On the ballot for the March 7 election in Oklahoma is State Question 820, which legalizes recreational marijuana use. It has been proposed that adults over the age of 21 who vote in favor of legalization be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six mature plants and six seedlings.

A long-held idea that marijuana causes social issues is pitted against a revenue windfall in the state question. Financial benefits, such as the potential for a billion-dollar sector within the next five years, are being touted by proponents of the state question.

Vicente Sederberg LLP and the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association compiled a 9-page economic impact and tax analysis report that predicted the Sooner State would earn up to $821 million in combined medical and recreational taxes from 2024 to 2028.

Let Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Marijuana For Recreational Use!

According to the research, the revenue generated from the legalization and regulation of marijuana may be utilized to improve public services such as education, infrastructure, law enforcement, and drug rehabilitation. According to the research, the 15% excise tax on adult recreational sales, in addition to ordinary state and local sales taxes, will yield $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 programs to reduce substance abuse and increase student retention, 20% to drug addiction treatment programs, 10% to courts, and 10% to local governments.

Concerns about public safety and an uptick in violence associated with illegal trade are often cited by those who argue against legalization. Founded by the ex-governor of Oklahoma, Frank Keating, Protect Our Kids NO 820 is a political action committee against the legalization of recreational marijuana. In a prepared statement, Keating emphasized the importance of child safety.

Let Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Marijuana For Recreational Use!

The ballot summary voters will see for this state question does not do it justice. As just one example, this issue has a phrase that expressly lowers the legal bar for child endangerment. Also included is a provision making it illegal for courts to take marijuana use into account when deciding issues of parental rights and visitation.

These are only some of the issues.” Christianna Wright, an Oklahoma family lawyer, said that while marijuana use or possession might result in bad child court verdicts in the past, it is no longer grounds for an emergency custody order for a license holder. Wright argued that, while marijuana usage alone poses no problem, marijuana overuse does.

“Medical marijuana is viewed in the same light as alcohol by the legal system.” She explained that judges decide based on what is best for the child’s safety. Wright cited the example of having a toddler running around the house with bowls of marijuana gummy candies.

Let Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Marijuana For Recreational Use!

The threat of criminal punishment is another argument against legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said in a prepared statement, “Our law enforcement community is only now starting to get a handle on all of the activities around so-called medical marijuana.”

“It might be disastrous to go in and pass additional laws that further limit the powers of law enforcement.” A state vote on the matter would mandate four hours of treatment for minors caught using drugs on school property, he added. Kunzweiler isn’t the only one who supports the group, though; the Oklahoma Faith Coalition and the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association are, too.

The group is centering its opposition on several issues, including:

Let Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Marijuana For Recreational Use!

  • 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.

Medical Marijuana

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.”

Let Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Marijuana For Recreational Use!

He claims that any new construction in the vicinity is either a Dollar General or a medicinal marijuana dispensary. Sooner State residents can now legally access medical marijuana according to State Question 788, which was approved by voters in June 2018.

Voters in Ottawa, Delaware, and Craig counties voted down the measure.

  • Craig County voters, 54.81 percent no votes to 45.19 percent yes votes,
  • Ottawa County voters, 53.44 percent no votes to 46.56 percent yes votes,
  • Delaware County voters, 50.51 percent no votes to 49.49 percent yes votes.

The three counties in Northeast Oklahoma have seen a boom in the cannabis industry since the state legalized medical marijuana. To no one’s surprise, Oklahoma County has the most licenses in the state, with 1,437 total for cultivators, retailers, processors, and couriers. Among the 77 counties that have issued licenses, Delaware County is in seventh place.

Delaware County Ottawa County Craig County
Growers 256 105 73
Dispensaries 53 30 18
Processors 24 13 9
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