Oklahoma has some of the harshest penalties for marijuana possession in the nation. A second offense for possession of any amount of marijuana is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of two years imprisonment and a maximum of 10.
Fortunately, legislation awaiting action on the House floor would introduce a dose of sanity. H.B. 1835, sponsored by Rep. Cory Williams (D-34), would make first and second offense possession of marijuana a misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses would remain a felony, but the possible jail time would be reduced to a maximum of five years.
Although this change is modest, it is still a significant improvement over the status quo. It’s a change that makes both common sense and fiscal sense. It would mean fewer adults would be jailed simply for choosing to use a substance less harmful than alcohol. It would also free up prison space for people who commit serious and violent crimes.