(Photo courtesy of The Daily Chronic)
By The Editorial Board
Oklahoma imprisons more of its citizens per capita than any other governing body in the world.
This isn’t by accident, this is by design.
The War on Drugs, which started under the Reagan administration and was enhanced under the Clinton administration, discriminately targets communities of color, jailing men, women and children for possession of simple substances like marijuana.
At the same time, members of low-income communities suffering from chronic diseases ― cancer, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, certain mental health issues, and more ― are forced to seek out expensive prescription medicine while criminalized for accessing affordable, natural alternative remedies.
State Question 788 changes this, which is why The Black Wall Street Times Editorial Board fully endorses a “Yes” vote on the proposition.
Under the new law, individuals would be allowed to procure a license to purchase and use medical marijuana (prescribed by a certified physician) for a fee of just $100, or $20 if the patient is on Medicare. The reason for obtaining a prescription would be indiscriminate ― meaning that there are no qualifying conditions a patient would need to meet, making it one of the more progressive medical marijuana laws in the nation.
If passed by the voters, this new law would also significantly reduce criminal penalties for those in possession of marijuana without a license. Currently, a possession charge can carry with it a fine of $1000 and a year in prison. Under this law, imprisonment for simple possession would be abolished and the fine would be reduced to $400.
Admittedly, there is much more work to do to undo a system of injustice generations in the making. We must fight, not simply for legalization, but for expungement of criminal records and for release from imprisonment for any citizen who has been convicted for simple possession of marijuana.
We believe, however, that this law would move us decidedly down the path toward true reform and justice. This vote provides a real opportunity to begin building a new and more equitable state for all Oklahomans.
We can and must do better ― and State Question 788 helps us to get there.
Oklahoma, let’s move forward. Together.
Vote YES on State Question 788.