I saved the best for first! Starting July 1, 2017, simple possession of every drug becomes a misdemeanor. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been convicted of drug possession, what kind of drug it is, where you were caught with it, or whether there was a child with you–it’s ALL a misdemeanor. This change was due to 58% of Oklahoma voters passing State Question 780 in November 2016. SQ 780 amends 63 O.S. § 2-402.
The change moves Oklahoma from one of the harshest states for drug possession to likely the most lenient for drug possession. Generally, the law just prior to SQ 780 going into effect was as follows:
- Felony to be caught with any Schedule I or II substance except marijuana
- Felony to be caught a second or subsequent time with marijuana or any Schedule II, IV, or V substance
- Felony to be caught with any controlled substance within 1000 feet of a school and a bunch of other places
- Felony to be caught with any controlled substance with a child under 12 present
All of those qualifiers are now GONE! It’s very simple now–it’s all a misdemeanor. The change is radical, but it’s what Oklahoma needs. Oklahoma has the second highest incarceration rate in the country, and has the highest incarceration rate for women. We are sick and tired of our prisons being filled with people who don’t belong there. Meddling politicians tried to change the law in 2017 before it was even implemented, but thankfully those bills died. Power to the people!!!
Unfortunately, the law is not retroactive. So, people arrested for simple drug possession through June will be charged under the old version of the statute even though they were charged after the new version went into effect.
If you have been arrested for drug possession in Oklahoma …
Text of SQ 780 – https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/questions/780.pdf