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
In November 2016, voters in Oklahoma resoundingly said they’re fed up with the way drug crimes are prosecuted. State Question 780 modified the drug possession statute. It made every simple possession of drugs a misdemeanor. It won’t matter where you had the drugs, what kind of drug it was, or how many times you’ve been arrested for drug possession–it will always be a misdemeanor. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2017, and 58% of voters approved it
Now, our legislature is trying to undo SQ 780. The most likely legislative change will be to make it a felony to possess drugs within a certain distance of a handful of areas. This will turn about half of Oklahoma into a felony drug possession area. Oh, and you will have to serve 90% of your prison sentence.
HOWEVER–our out-of-touch legislators won’t have to wait until their meddling goes into effect. An obscure Oklahoma law CURRENTLY makes it a felony to possess a controlled dangerous substance without “affixing the appropriate stamp.” This is not a joke. So, come July, when prosecutors can’t use the usual drug possession statute anymore to charge people with felonies, they will be using 68 OS § 450.8 to convict people of not possessing a tax stamp. Of course, nobody will have a tax stamp, so any simple possession of drugs can also be a violation of this statute.
This is beyond outrageous. I love how people are out there now telling the voters that they were too stupid to know what they were voting for. I know exactly what I voted for, as did many people I talked with. The ink isn’t even dry on this statute, and everyone is trying to find a way to nullify it. Our prisons are overcrowded. Lives are ruined early on due to felony drug charges. The people who voted for SQ 780 see the effects of Oklahoma’s harsh drug laws first-hand. The people who are trying to change this law supposedly represent the community. Unfortunately, they don’t see things from the perspective of people who experience how broken the system is. Let’s see how this new law plays out before attempting to change it.
If you’ve been arrested for drug possession, then call The Urbanic Law Firm!