Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: February 12, 2014
Sen. Constance Johnson discusses her efforts to reform Oklahoma's
marijuana policies. Also pictured
L-R: Chris Fairchild (to her immediate left); former Rep. Porter
Davis (behind her); Dr. Katherine
Scheirman (to her right); and Attorney David Slane along with other
Senator announces new nonpartisan alliance
to reform marijuana policy in Oklahoma
Johnson and former State Rep. Porter Davis announced a new alliance
Wednesday to reform marijuana policy in Oklahoma. Johnson, a Democrat,
and Davis, a Republican, share a common interest in ending marijuana
prohibition in the state for medicinal, decriminalization and industrial
“The War on Drugs has utterly failed to achieve its stated
intent. Instead, this costly program has violated rights, destroyed
lives and families, militarized police, and given us record prison
populations,” said Johnson, D-Oklahoma County. “Half
of all Oklahoma prisoners in Oklahoma are incarcerated for non-violent
drug offenses, with communities of color experiencing incarceration
at twice the rate of whites. Prohibition has created an illegal
market that funds drug cartels and brings violence into our communities.”
This session, Johnson has filed Senate Bill 2116, which would regulate
and tax marijuana like alcohol. The bill has been assigned to the
Senate Public Safety Committee but the committee chair has told
Johnson he will not hear the bill.
“There are good reasons twenty States have at least decriminalized
marijuana, and two have legalized it,” said Davis, coordinator
of the Gold State Initiative. “Nationally, over half the population
is for legalization. A recent Sooner Poll shows 71 percent of Oklahomans
support medical marijuana, with 57% supporting decriminalization.
There are no factual or logical arguments that support continuing
Johnson said the alliance will work to reform marijuana policy through
the legislative process as well as the initiative petition process
if needs be.
“We are coming together to call on the legislators of both
parties, and the Governor, to quit avoiding this issue for fear
of not getting re-elected, to stop playing politics, and to act
like the statesmen and women the people elected us to be. We simply
want to have the conversation in order to provide factual information
to every legislator and the Governor so they no longer only rely
on erroneous information, or the 'Reefer Madness' propaganda used
to justify criminalizing this beneficial plant,” Johnson said.
“We call on our representatives to act courageously on the
truth and neither perpetuate, nor pander, to ignorance. They can
analyze the facts and explain to their constituencies the reasoning
behind their actions. Every day we fail to do the right thing, additional
lives are needlessly destroyed by this insane policy,” stated
Johnson noted that regulating and taxing marijuana would be financially
beneficial to the state.
“When we regulate and tax marijuana just like we do alcohol,
we will save at least $30 million a year on incarceration costs
alone, and add even more than that through taxation,” Johnson
Davis went on to note the economic boost that reforms would provide
for the state’s agriculture industry, which is the largest
in the state.
“Legalization will mean a huge boost in agriculture in Oklahoma
given that hemp is indigenous to the state and provisions regarding
hemp cultivation in the recently approved Farm Bill. I plan to do
everything possible to recruit and empower candidates to run against
all incumbents who oppose this bill,” stated Davis.
Other speakers at the press conference included Dr. Katherine Scheirman,
Fellow, American College of Physician Executives; Attorney David
Slane; and citizen activist Chris Fairchild.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Johnson's office: (405) 521-5531