Law Enforcement Relieved By SQ 820 Result

Monday members of law enforcement joined with others on the capitol steps to urge Oklahomans to say "no" to SQ 820.

Wednesday, March 8th 2023, 5:52 pm


Monday members of law enforcement joined with others on the capitol steps to urge Oklahomans to say "no" to SQ 820.

Wednesday, they breathed a sigh of relief after voters overwhelmingly passed on legalized pot recreationally.

Cleveland County's District Attorney, Greg Mashburn, said he didn't expect such a blow-out vote on Tuesday. He believes Oklahomans who have watched law enforcement and state officials struggle to keep the medical industry in check may be the culprit.

"I thought it would be close so I was pleasantly surprised to see the margin," said District Attorney Mashburn.

District Attorney Mashburn, one of many on the enforcement side of the law who hoped SQ 820 would fail. He said it's because of the side effects of SQ 788, the one that made pot medically legal.

"People think they're voting one thing and then they end up with a different outcome than what they thought they voted for. Now they see dispensaries on every corner. More dispensaries than gas stations," D.A. Mashburn explained.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics announced recently that nearly half of the medical grow industry is under investigation for black market trading and fraudulent licenses.

"You've seen law enforcement, OMMA, really try to catch up to that and dial it back in, so that it's more close to what people thought they were voting for," he said.

District Attorney Mashburn added that's where law enforcement is more focused when it comes to pot busts.

"When that behavior affects other people and surroundings, so driving while you're high.. that's when law enforcement starts to get involved." He added, "This huge population in our department of corrections that were simply smoking a joint and went to prison. That's just not the case."

There's sixty-six people in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for possession right now. District Attorney Mashburn said if they were convicted in the last seven years, they're most likely not in prison for pot.

He also said county courts are aimed at combating the violence that surrounds the medical cannabis industry.

"People try to equate this to alcohol and we don't see anyone hurting anyone to get their Coors like but we see time and time again robberies, pistol whippings, guns being used," Mashburn said.

Pot possession hasn't been a felony since it was legalized medically; but since SQ 820 failed it's still a misdemeanor.


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