Oklahoma governor, attorney general oppose recreational marijuana state question

With a statewide vote set for March 7 on legalizing THC products for adult use, Oklahoma’s governor and attorney general have come out in opposition to the proposal known as recreational marijuana.

In a briefing Friday with reporters in the Capitol, Gov. Kevin Stitt said he thinks voters should consider how to protect Oklahoma from the potential dangers of expanding access to marijuana. He pointed out that from the federal government’s perspective, marijuana is still an illegal drug.

He says for those who need it, medical cannabis is already available while marijuana remains illegal federally.

“I believe the feds need to make a decision about marijuana,” he said. “There shouldn’t be a patchwork of states doing different things. We need to let the feds tell us if it’s legal or illegal. We shouldn’t let the states tell us that.”

Recreational marijuana has been legalized in the District of Columbia and 21 U.S. states. Washington, D.C., and 37 states, including Oklahoma, have legal medical marijuana programs.

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“We already have medical (cannabis) to meet the medical needs of Oklahomans that need this as a drug,” Stitt said. “We’re just now getting our arms around medical marijuana. … The recreational thing is a whole different story.”

The governor referenced the low barriers of entry that made Oklahoma more attractive to out-of-state investors seeking to cash in on marijuana. Crime related to medical marijuana has been in the spotlight since four Chinese citizens were found slain, execution style, at a cannabis farm in rural Hennessey, Oklahoma.

On Thursday, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond referenced those slayings in explaining to The Oklahoman that he would be voting no on State Question 820, the voter initiative to legalize the purchase, possession and consumption of marijuana for those over 21.

“One of the biggest current threats to public safety is the presence of Chinese nationals and other elements of organized crime in our medical marijuana industry,” Drummond said. “I believe it would be a grave mistake to give these criminals a larger market to serve.”

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