As the debate on cannabis legalization continues to sweep across the United States, Oklahomans have the opportunity to vote on State Question 820, which proposes to legalize cannabis for adults aged 21 and older. Here are the top 10 reasons why Oklahomans should vote in favor of SQ 820.
Generate millions of dollars in new state funding and government revenue
State Question 820 proposes a 15% sales tax on marijuana to fund critical programs, including schools, healthcare, public safety, and other vital priorities for Oklahomans. Legalizing cannabis for adults will generate millions of dollars in new state funding and government revenue, which can be used to improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans.
Common sense criminal justice reform, like expungement
State Question 820 offers future and retroactive criminal justice reforms. It eliminates incarceration for minor marijuana possession and allows individuals to be resentenced or have their records expunged retroactively for low-level marijuana crimes that would no longer be illegal. This will prevent unnecessary arrests and allow people to clean their records.
Create jobs and generate economic development
State Question 820 will create jobs and increase economic development by supporting local businesses already here. Legalization creates jobs and supports state economic growth in many different ways. In fact, 4 of the 5 states with the highest GDP per capita have taxed and regulated cannabis for adults.
Protect public health and safety
State Question 820 protects the health and safety of Oklahomans. Products will be tested, safe, and only available to adults aged 21 and older (unless you have a medical marijuana card). Each product will be analyzed to determine potency and screened for unsafe contaminants. All marijuana and related products will be tracked, traced, and accurately labeled in an inventory system from seed to sale.
Prevent unnecessary arrests
The current law can ruin lives based on one mistake. If a person makes one minor mistake with marijuana, they can land in jail and be saddled with a life-long criminal record, making it hard to get a job, an apartment, student loans, or a credit card. State Question 820 will prevent unnecessary arrests and reduce the number of non-violent offenders in the criminal justice system.
Protect and benefit local Oklahoma businesses
Initially, only existing medical marijuana businesses, who have been operational for a year, can apply for a recreational business license. This will give Oklahoma companies a competitive edge against big out-of-state corporations and allow state regulators to build the new program by working with experienced local operators who have a vested interest in our state.
Reduce public resource waste on prohibition
The current approach of prohibition wastes precious public resources. In states that have legalized, arrests for simple marijuana offenses are down 70 to 90 percent, freeing up time and money for the state to focus on more serious issues. Fewer arrests also mean our courts aren’t clogged with petty marijuana cases.
Proven success in other states
Marijuana legalization is working in other states. Eighteen other states, including Montana and Arizona, have legalized marijuana for adults. In those states, licensed marijuana businesses must follow regulations and pay taxes. Stores check IDs, and laboratories test products to ensure safety. Residents in regulated states overwhelmingly like the new policy, and no state that’s passed legalization has repealed their law and reinstated prohibition.
A responsible and sensible approach.
State Question 820 proposes a responsible and sensible approach to legalization. The program will be tailored to Oklahoma, carefully balancing personal freedom with responsible regulation. Products will be tested, labeled, and tracked from seed-to-sale; employers will be able to maintain a drug-free workplace, and it allows for expungement and other criminal justice reforms. This approach is based on the best practices of other states that have already legalized cannabis, and it has proven to be effective.
Improve quality of life for Oklahomans.
Passing State Question 820 will improve the quality of life for Oklahomans in many different ways. It will generate millions of dollars in new funding for important programs, create jobs and support economic development, protect public health and safety, prevent unnecessary arrests, and provide common sense criminal justice reform. These benefits will help to build stronger communities, improve public health, and create a brighter future for all Oklahomans.
State Question 820 offers Oklahomans a unique opportunity to legalize cannabis for adults and create a more equitable, prosperous, and safer future for all. By voting in favor of SQ 820, Oklahomans can generate new state funding, support local businesses, protect public health and safety, and promote common sense criminal justice reform. These benefits will improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans, and ensure that the state continues to be a leader in the nation.
Find your polling location here.