Law Enforcement Expresses Concerns Ahead Of Recreational Marijuana Election

The law enforcement community is voicing their concerns when it comes to recreational marijuana. 

Thursday, February 23rd 2023, 8:49 pm



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The law enforcement community is voicing their concerns when it comes to recreational marijuana. 

News 9 spoke to law enforcement agencies about their concerns, everything from organized crime to protecting our children came up. They told News 9’s Feliz Romero in their opinion the risks outweigh the benefits. 

In just over a week, Oklahomans are going to make their voice heard when it comes to recreational marijuana.

“We believe that what you will see is increases in illegal marijuana trade, which is what we saw out of the medical marijuana and then just the other things that go with it,” said Wade Gourley, the Chief Of Police for the Oklahoma City Police Department.  

“We heard these scare tactics play out in every single state, we heard them play out here with state question 788 and you know we haven’t descended into chaos and the anarchy that they say we are going to,” said Ryan Kiesel, the YesOn820 Senior Consultant.  

Law enforcement made their stance clear ahead of the election.

“My biggest concern is the grows and the criminal activity that they bring,” said Damon Devereaux, the Logan County Sheriff.  

“The idea that this helps the black market is really the reverse, we know for a fact that whenever we give Oklahomans, 21 and over, the option of paying on the illicit market vs marijuana in a safe, regulated, and taxed dispensary they are going to use the safe, regulated taxed dispensary,” said Kiesel. 

Sheriff Devereaux said there is a laundry list of concerns for law enforcement.  

“The state question talks about how we can’t use the use of marijuana in the house as a child neglect issue. They have specifically written in there, ‘hey if you want to have weed party in your house and your kids are there and you want to smoke it up there is nothing you can do,’” Devereaux said. 

Marijuana advocates said the tax revenue would go towards funding first responders, healthcare, and education. However, law enforcement disagrees and said that isn’t easy to track.  

“Marijuana is a cash business, so we have no idea of the true revenue that this industry is bringing to our community and our state,” said Devereaux.  

 Despite this concern, Kiesel is confident in the system.

“We will know how much is being sold it’s not even a matter of a dispensary filing a report with the state Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and saying, ‘trust us’ no it is a closed loop, secure system, that every operator has to comply with, and they will have to comply with that day one if recreational marijuana passes,” said Kiesel. 

The special election for SQ 820 will be held March 7th, 2023.

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