Almost half of the United States have legalized marijuana, either medically or recreationally. And in states that have medical marijuana only legislation, recreational use is increasing and becoming decriminalized. This is the case here in the State of Oklahoma, where policymakers are working on creating a new bill that would lower the punishment for simple possession of marijuana.
Under the voter-enacted medical cannabis law that passed in June of 2018, Oklahoma citizens who possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis are only subject to a misdemeanor fine of up to $400 as long as they can state a medical condition. But a new bill, which has already been approved by The House, would apply even to those who can’t state a medical condition. That means no jail time for minor marijuana offenses, like small-time possession.
There are 15 states that have only decriminalized, not legalized cannabis. The laws vary from state to state, but many policymakers point to decriminalization as a step in the right direction to help curb the stigma of drug use. Many European countries, such as Portugal, have decriminalized all drugs in an effort to encourage those with addictions to seek help, without fear of arrest. Some also think that decriminalization can be a great way to test the waters for full-fledged legalization of recreational cannabis, while also putting less pressure on law enforcement and the justice system.
The current penalty for marijuana possession without a medical card or the ability to claim a medical condition includes jail time (up to one year) and harsher fines (up to $1,000). Want to support this new bill? Contact your local Oklahoma Senators today.