Oklahoma Legislature considering marijuana policy changes

Mar 01, 2019

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If you live in Oklahoma, ask your legislators to support reducing the penalty for possessing marijuana to a simple fine.

Three bills that would change Oklahoma's marijuana policies are advancing in the legislature.

HB 2614 would reduce the penalty for simple possession of cannabis to a fine of up to $400. Under Oklahoma's voter-enacted medical cannabis law, anyone possessing up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis that can "state a medical condition" is subject to a misdemeanor fine of up to $400. HB 2614 would apply even to those who cannot "state a medical condition."

Ask your lawmakers to support this modest bill. The current penalty for marijuana possession is up to a year in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both.

The second bill is the "unity" medical cannabis bill, HB 2612. That bill passed the House yesterday and now heads to the Senate. While some changes it proposes, such as providing for lab testing, are beneficial, others would whittle away at patient protections.

Under HB 2612, landlords could prohibit patients who are renters from vaporizing cannabis at home. It would also reduce employment protections by carving out exceptions for broadly defined "safety sensitive positions" that include driving, firefighting, and caring for children or patients. You can read our letter to sponsors here.

Finally, SB 1030, as modified by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, would reduce the penalty for possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis to up to a $400 civil fine. However, it would also add extremely broad exclusions for "safety sensitive positions," which would essentially nullify the medical cannabis employment protections. The exceptions include handling or preparing food, driving, firefighting, and caring for children or patients.

If you want to weigh in on HB 2612 or SB 1030 with your state senator, you can look them up here. You can give your state senator (the third category to appear after you fill in your address) a polite call to urge that HB 2612 and SB 1030 be amended to restore patient protections.

Finally, please share this message with other compassionate Oklahomans.