There once was a TV comedy that had an episode about two candidates running for office. In a humorous situation, one of the candidates spent all of his time and energy planning the victory party, so much so that he forgot to show up to vote on Election Day and actually lost the election by a single vote.
On Tuesday, March 7, Oklahoma voters face a state question that is not humorous in any way.
We will have the opportunity to go to the polls and reject State Question 820, which would legalize recreational marijuana leading to further disastrous consequences for our state.
This election could come down to who shows up and be decided by only a few votes. As I have stated in previous columns, SQ 820 is unwise and unnecessary. Oklahoma already has more marijuana dispensaries than any other state in the nation. In fact, we have more marijuana dispensaries that we do Baptist churches; more than there are even gas stations.
SQ 820 would expand marijuana’s reach in our state, making Oklahoma “go to pot” even further. Oklahomans should reject the goal of making our state a “pot-smokers paradise” and, instead, focus on keeping it a pleasant place to raise a family.
Recreational marijuana creates easy access to a mind-altering, addictive substance that has proven adverse effects on the user, their families and communities. Recreational marijuana has been linked to addiction and proven to be a gateway to other risky behaviors. Legalization has led to an increase in casual use among Americans and an even greater surge among those who use cannabis heavily.
This state measure comes with empty promises and disguised consequences. Proponents of the state question have used phrases to advance their drugs’ cause, phrases like “sensible laws,” “the tax revenue will help education.” Socially liberal proposals promise good end results, but they often end up being empty promises that invite further social harm and breakdown.
Approving recreational marijuana means removing important legal barriers for trafficking these addictive, mind-altering drugs. Recreational marijuana leaves neighborhoods and schools vulnerable for exploitation.
Last November, messengers to the Oklahoma Baptists’ Annual Meeting approved a resolution against recreational marijuana. The resolution expressed alarm “at the rapid advance of acceptance of marijuana in our state… We pray that Oklahoma will put legal barriers between addiction and the communities it devastates, and that the church will work with Christ-centered ministries to reach people who are addicted to substances.” For more information from Oklahoma Baptists, go to oklahomabaptists.org/sq820.
It’s not only Baptists who are stepping forward to say “NO” on this. A growing coalition, including the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Association Chiefs of Police, the State Chamber and others are opposing this measure. To see others opposing SQ 820, go to facebook.com/nosq820.
In the end, the result of this vote will come down to who actually shows up to vote. On March 7, please remember to vote. And please remember to vote NO on SQ 820!