Tuesday may bring a major milestone in America’s relentless march toward marijuana legalization, as Oklahoma will likely become the most conservative state so far to approve recreational use of the plant. Trump carried the state by a 33% margin in 2020.
Oklahomans will consider State Question 820, which offers a chance to legalize consumption by adults 21 and older — along with their possession of up to an ounce — and grant Okies the freedom to grow six mature plants and six seedlings for their own use.
A 15% tax would be imposed on sales, with proceeds flowing to student services, drug addiction programs, courts, local government and the state’s general fund.
With approval, Oklahoma stands to rake in tax revenue from Texans expected to cross the border to take a break from the Lone Star State’s stubborn nanny-state tyranny. Ryan Kiesel, a former Oklahoma state legislator and current legalization advocate told AP:
“There are thousands and thousands of Texans who are increasingly coming to Oklahoma as a tourist destination. I want to be able to sell legal, regulated and taxed marijuana to those Texans over the age of 21, and take their tax dollars and invest them in Oklahoma schools and Oklahoma health care.”
Nearly 8 million people live in Dallas-Fort Worth, which is almost twice as many as live in all of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is a standout with one of the country’s most relaxed medical marijuana regimes. About one in ten adults in the state holds a medical license. In contrast to most states that allow medical use, Oklahoma has no list of qualifying conditions and patients can receive a doctor’s recommendation over the internet.
Okie cannabis growers are desperate to expand their market: The state’s medical marijuana market is so relatively free that low barriers to entry have sent prices into a nose-dive, with one retailer telling AP the price of a 1-gram cartridge of concentrate has collapsed from $60 to $70 in 2019 to just $20 today.
The last public poll on the proposal — taken way back in October — had voters approving recreational legalization, 49% to 38%. The question was originally slated to appear on the November 2022 midterm ballot, but a delay in verifying petition signatures led to it being moved to March 7.
In 2018, the ballot measure to allow medical use was approved 56% to 43%. The wild card in Tuesday’s election is turnout, as SQ820 is the only statewide measure on the ballot.
“I think what resonates with people is compassion for other human beings with the criminal justice reform, and I think the revenue piece is also something people have been excited about.”
The Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association opposes the measure, but plenty of cops are ready to stop wasting time and resources punishing adults who choose to intoxicate themselves with a plant nobody’s ever overdosed from.
Sun, 03/05/2023 – 20:00