Article by Zach Harris, Merry Jane
With the state’s prisons overflowing and unfair punishments for nonviolent offenders, Oklahomans went to the polls last November and voted to reduce a number of drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.
But now, only a few months after the ballot measure passed with 58% of the vote, Oklahoma lawmakers are attempting to reverse their constituents decision and reclassify offenses as more serious crimes.
Oklahoma Senator Ralph Shortey introduced Senate Bill 512, a piece of legislature that would roll back all of the felony reforms.
If SB512 passes, possession of any Schedule I or Schedule II drug would be a felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of at least $5,000. For a second offense those punishments double, and if you’re charged with possession a third time, you will be required to serve at least four years in jail.
Thankfully, the bill excludes marijuana from the felony list, but simple weed possession would still be a misdemeanor crime carrying a punishment of up to one year in jail. But a second marijuana possession charge would be a felony, resulting in a 1-5 year sentence.