Showdown Is On: Oklahoma Nears Recreational Vote

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Joint & nug Oklahoma
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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KOKH) — The showdown is on as groups argue both for and against the legalization of recreational marijuana in Oklahoma.

On Mar. 7, voters will decide whether or not SQ 820 advances. The measure would legalize recreational cannabis use — and usher in a slew of regulations surrounding the industry.

Yes on 820, a group in favor of the proposal, released a report on Thursday detailing the possible economic impact recreational cannabis would bring to Oklahoma.

Vicente Sederburg LLP, a firm specializing in cannabis and hemp law and policy, estimates that the passage of SQ 820 would result in $821 million in additional revenue for the state over five years.

Michelle Tilley, Yes on 820’s campaign director, shared that, “We know that there is going to be a good healthy debate about this issue as there should be in a democracy.”

She added that, “We think State Question 820 is actually a positive step in protecting our children. Every, every product has to safety tested, it is regulated.”

On the other hand, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn (R) opposes the measure.

According to him, “We’ve seen an uptick in emergency room visits by kids who have gotten into marijuana and, and overdosed on that.”

He pointed to state data that shows a 4,000 percent spike in children ages 0-5 overdosing on cannabis since medical marijuana became legal in Oklahoma in 2018.

Tilley disputed the data, asserting, “We know that a lot of these statistics that are being quoted right now, including that study which I have also seen, it’s a little questionable on exactly what they’re counting, and who they’re counting.”

She stated that the new revenue would fund education and law enforcement — and allow for small businesses to thrive in rural Oklahoma.

The district attorney and other officials argue medical marijuana has already brought major crime to rural parts of the state — such as the four execution-style killings near Hennessey in November at a marijuana grow facility.

“People want to say that this is a, a good tax revenue for, for our state if we were to do this. No amount of money’s worth putting our kids at risk,” asserted Mashburn.

Voters will decide on SQ 820 on Mar. 7. To vote on the measure, voters need to register by Feb. 10.