Oklahomans Push To Legalize The Sale Of Marijuana

Tuesday, July 8th 2014, 7:01 pm
By: News 9

Colorado has allowed the sale of marijuana for nearly six months. On Tuesday, Washington state began allowing the sale of the drug. Now Oklahomans are hitting the ground in hopes to be next.

"They say necessity is the mother of invention, they use to tell me in army, can do will do," said Arlene Barnum, a full legalization advocate.

Retired army veteran and registered republican, Barnum isn't letting stereotypes determine how she feels on full legalization of marijuana in Oklahoma.

"Yes, because of the issues," said Barnum.

Barnum is standing alongside democratic state Sen. Connie Johnson.

"Seeing people go to prison for a $10 bag of weed, less than an ounce. We're talking about destroying lives," said Barnum.

"This petition is the crown jewel of the marijuana policy reform," said Johnson, D - District 48.

Johnson has fought for legalization for nearly seven years. With this petition, just approved by the attorney general, Johnson's efforts are combined to decriminalize marijuana as well as legalize the use for medicinal and recreational purposes. The only difference in her eyes is this time she's taken her cause out of the hands of a dormant legislature and put it in the hands of the people.

"I think this is a movement and marijuana is just one issue. I think this is the issue to give people a voice in government," said Johnson.

Oklahoma Watchdog's Pat McGuigan says if history is any indication and Johnson's petition makes it on the November ballot, voter turnout could increase.

"You would have to say it's a longshot, but it is very intriguing and it's significant they've gotten as far as they have," said Pat McGuigan with Oklahoma Watchdog.

Johnson and Barnum will now continue to go farther.

"Everything around us is dictating it's our time," said Johnson.

The petition does state it will be retroactive for individuals who are presently facing charges for marijuana possession. Petitioners have 90 days to collect 160,000 signatures for a spot on the November ballot.

Johnson also mentioned that the signatures will be turned in early to guarantee a spot on the ballot.

Currently the petitioners have links on Facebook to print out the petition, as well as a "how to" video to verify the signatures are being collected properly.