Oklahoma Lawmakers are Trying to Reclassify Nonviolent Drug Crimes as Felonies

Article by Zach Harris, Merry Jane

Voters wanted misdemeanor charges, but their representatives don't agree.

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.

Read full article here.

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