On Tuesday, Oklahoma voters will head to the polls to decide on State Question 820—to legalize recreational marijuana statewide.
Michelle Tilley is the campaign director for Vote Yes on 820, Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws. Right now, medical marijuana card holders are taxed 7%. If the proposed measure passes next month, recreational customers will be taxed 15%.
“A majority of Oklahomans want to see legalized recreational marijuana passed, they are tired of people going to jail for minor marijuana offenses when the idea of using marijuana recreationally is pretty widely accepted,” Tilley said.
According to a recent report from Vicente Sederberg LLP and the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association, the state stands to gain $821 million in tax revenue in the first five years of legalization.
“That means tens of millions of dollars every year that will be going to our schools, local governments, helping our local law enforcement so that they can quit wasting their time and money chasing after minor marijuana issues,” she said.
Pat McFerron is with Protect our Kids, Vote No 820 which is the group opposing recreational marijuana. He says the group is concerned about some of the details he thinks harm children.
“This State Question expressly changes the threshold for child endangerment allowing for the use of marijuana around infants and toddlers, when you couple that with the kind of stratospheric increase in those under five years old, being poisoned by ingesting marijuana, it's really concerning,” McFerron said.
The group also alleges medical marijuana has increased organized crime in Oklahoma and created other issues.
“We just want to want to make sure that we don't expand these problems we already have. We feel like our state, our law enforcement, is just now starting to get a handle on the medical marijuana industry in our state. And passing 820 would put us back at square one and trying to get a hold on that,” he said.
If voters do approve Question 820 on March 7, it will go into effect three months after. And just like in Missouri, anyone 21 and older can purchase recreational marijuana even if they live out of state.