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Oklahoma voters go to the polls March 7 to vote on legalization of recreational marijuana

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - Registered voters in the State of Oklahoma will head to the polls on March 7, to determine the fate of State Question (SQ) 820—the proposed legalization of recreational marijuana.

If passed, SQ 820 would legalize recreational marijuana use statewide for those over the age of 21. It would also allow residents to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana, six mature plants, and six seedling plants.

Recreational marijuana would be purchased from licensed sellers in the state. Holders of medicinal marijuana cards are currently subject to a 7% tax. However, a 15% tax rate will apply to recreational users if the proposed legislation is approved next month.

Throughout the state, many supporting and opposing groups have formed regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Supporters Say:

*Adult use of medical marijuana should be permitted as a matter of personal freedom.

*Compared to alcohol, opioids, and many other prescription medications, marijuana has a lower risk for misuse.

*The sales tax from recreational marijuana will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue. The revenue would help improve economic development and fund substance abuse prevention and educational programs.

*Legalization of recreational marijuana would allow for previous marijuana-related charges to be expunged, reversed, modified, and resentenced.

Opponents Say:

*There will be safety concerns for children. SQ 820 specifically states that it is okay to smoke and use marijuana around children. Youth would also become more at risk as gummies, oils, and other related items become more accessible.

*THC content is not limited. Marijuana in the 1960s and 80s tended to have a THC level in the 2% range. Today, levels are in the 30% range, with many of the popular strains being sold in the 17–28% range.

*Oklahoma already has the most users and dispensaries in the nation. The state contains 2,129 dispensaries, which is more than the number of gas stations in the state. If SQ 820 passes, Oklahoma would become the most pro-marijuana state in the nation.

*Law enforcement efforts would have to be renewed. The state has experienced a hard time adapting to the medical marijuana industry. Laws, rules, and regulation methods for recreational marijuana would have to be adjusted and redefined across the state. Passage would undo all the strides made to regulate the industry.

If SQ 820 is approved on March 7, the legalization of recreational marijuana would go into effect in 90 days.

Lindsie Dyer, Staff Writer

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