| Yes on 820 Supporters Say the Fight Must Continue to Legalize Marijuana and End Marijuana-Related Arrests
Voters did not pass State Question 820, which proposed to legalize and tax marijuana in Oklahoma for all adults over 21. New revenue brought in by the proposed measure was estimated to have been almost half a billion dollars in new money for education, law enforcement and other priorities in its first five years. State Question 820 also proposed ending the practice of arresting adults for small amounts of marijuana and allowing people with marijuana arrests or convictions for simple marijuana possession to have their records expunged. It also included new rules and regulations providing for product testing, child-proof packaging, and other safety regulations.
“Our mission from the very start has been about making a more prosperous, just and safer state,” said Campaign Director Michelle Tilley. “We are moms and dads who want more revenue in our schools, more resources for law enforcement, and more jobs and investment in communities across the state. Unfortunately, tonight we fell short.”
“We didn’t get State Question 820 across the finish line tonight, but the fact remains that marijuana legalization is not a question of ‘if;’ it’s a question of ‘when.’ There are almost 400,000 Oklahomans – that’s almost ten percent of our population – using marijuana legally; there are many thousands more using marijuana acquired off the illicit market. A two-tiered system, where one group of Oklahomans is free to use this product and the other is treated like criminals does not make logical sense. Furthermore, the cost in lost revenue and lives disrupted by senseless arrests hurts all of us. We will continue to advocate for change and we are confident that, sooner rather than later, change will come, as it has in 21 other states,” said Tilley.
There are over 4500 Oklahomans arrested annually for small amounts of marijuana. Yes on 820 Senior Advisor Ryan Kiesel, who helped draft the ballot language, said activists must continue to fight for retroactive expungement and an end to marijuana arrests.
“We have thousands of families being torn apart and thrown into chaos every year because a mom or a dad has a small amount of marijuana that would be legal in 21 other states and legal in Oklahoma for medical card holders,” said Kiesel. “Furthermore, the enforcement of Oklahoma’s marijuana laws has historically been deeply slanted against Black Oklahomans, who are much more likely to be arrested than their White counterparts. We must continue to work to end these unjust and wasteful arrests and to give people who do have arrests or convictions on their records the tools to seek expungement and start with a clean slate.”