Sen. Connie Johnson unveils recreational marijuana petition
By Christine VanTimmeren
OKLAHOMA — Oklahoma could soon become the third state in the nation, behind Colorado and Washington, to legalize recreational marijuana. A petition filed by Democratic State Senator Connie Johnson on Friday would make one ounce or less of marijuana legal."Here it is," said Sen. Johnson. "It's time for us to get up, get fired up, literally, and let's go." Supporters of Sen. Johnson's Marijuana Legalization Act cheered in front of her at the State Capitol Friday afternoon.Sen. Johnson says it's about time Oklahoma updated its marijuana policies. She says prohibition didn't work for alcohol and it's not working for marijuana."It's just the right thing to do. It's a plant. It's a God given plant and it could change the world," said petition supporter Pamela Street.Although a petition to legalize medical marijuana has already been filed, Sen. Johnson's petition goes two steps further. The petition not only legalizes medical marijuana but also industrial hemp and recreational marijuana.Some Oklahomans say they aren't on board with the petition at all. Many say they are in favor of medical use of marijuana, but say legalizing recreational use would just cause more problems.Sen. Johnson says recreational use isn't just about allowing people to get high, it's about decriminalizing possession to ease the burden on our prisons."We're locking up non-violent, marijuana possessing people, giving them felonies and filling up our prisons," Sen. Johnson said.The petition says one ounce or less of marijuana is okay for recreational use, and three ounces is allowed for medical reasons. Sen. Johnson says the tax benefits of selling marijuana would benefit the entire state. The petition calls for a $7.00 tax per ounce of recreational marijuana. 30% of that will go to the Department of Education, 20% to the Oklahoma City County Health Department and 50% to the general revenue fund."We are now ready to take it to the people, to take it to the streets. We're going to be depending on each one of you," Sen. Johnson said.Sen. Johnson will have 90 days to collect 160,000 signatures to put the measure up for a statewide vote.
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