Weekly Opinion Editorial
820 Not For Kids!
by Steve Fair
Oklahomans start voting this week on whether to expand marijuana use in the Sooner state. Early voting begins Thursday, March 2nd, at county election boards across the state. SQ#820, if approved, would allow recreational use of pot for those over 21. Advocates contend the state is losing millions of dollars in tax revenue by not taxing dopehead use. They say the tax from recreational use could be used to ‘help the children.’ Currently only medical use of weed is legal in Oklahoma. Three observations:
First, every sin tax Oklahoma passed in
the last 40 years was done to ‘help the children.” Liquor by the drink, parimutuel horse track betting,
the state lottery, and casino gambling all were marketed/peddled to Okies as
vehicles to provide more money for education.
The tax revenue windfall from each was supposed to improve Oklahoma
children’s quality of life by making them healthy, wealthy and wise. Never mind the aforementioned did major
damage to Oklahoma families by promoting addictive activities. A strategy to smoke, drink and gamble the way
to prosperity seems foolhardy, irresponsible, and bad public policy. Most of the time the tax revenue from ‘sin’
tax is a net loss to a community. According
to the National Highway Safety Administration, in states where pot has been
legalized for recreational use, fatal traffic accidents attributed to DUIs
associated with pot have skyrocketed. The
only high drivers we need in Oklahoma are those driving up Mt. Scott.
are pushing SQ#820. Out of state
liberals have pumped $3.2 million dollars into the campaign to move Oklahoma to
the left. The same people who in 2022 ran
the shady, dark money group Clean Up Oklahoma are mailing Vote Yes on SQ#820 push
cards to voters. They are spending
millions of dollars to convince Oklahoma voters weed is not a gateway drug and legalizing
it would be great for the state. The head
of the Yes group is a former Bernie Sanders staffer and the money for the affirmative
campaign is not coming from Oklahomans. Why
would liberals spend that kind of money in a conservative state? Because SQ#820 is a ‘test balloon’ for those liberals
to identify pockets of strength for their progressive agenda. They believe Oklahoma, with its libertarian
leanings, is low hanging fruit for progressives. They could be right.
get-out-of-jail free element of SQ#820 is imprecise and obscure. If approved some people would get their sentences
for weed offences expunged. It is
unclear exactly how the process will work, but the Yes folks say it will result
in less court cases. Oklahomans have seen
the results of liberal meddling into the criminal code. SQ 780 and 781 decriminalized many crimes and
changed felonies to misdemeanors, and resulted in the release of lawbreakers
back into the community. According to
the FBI crime data base, criminal activity in the state is up since the two
bills were passed. Oklahoma’s violent
crime rate is higher than New York and California. Oklahoma law enforcement has been hamstringed.
SQ 820 is along the same line as 780 and
781. It advocates forgiveness without
justice and compassion without fairness.
There is no way a majority of Oklahoma voters want legalized, reactional marijuana in the state. But that majority must vote. Rest assured the stoners, tokers and dope smokers will get their vote out. The question is- will the sober, clear-headed and temperate show up? That remains to be seen. The world is run by those who show up. If Oklahomans care about the state(and their children), they will vote No on State Question #820.