OKLAHOMA – Whether states should legalize marijuana is a debate that continues.
That debate is heating up this week on the tales of a newly released, controversial interview with the president.
President Barack Obama is quoted in a recent article in the New Yorker magazine as saying he doesn’t believe marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol.
State Senator Constance Johnson is taking it even farther, saying alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana and should be legal.
Johnson has tried in the past to get legislation approved to legalize marijuana, but it has never passed.
This year she is trying again, introducing Senate Bill 2116. The bill would allow for the regulation and taxation of marijuana.
Johnson said, “I think we need to accept the realities that alcohol is a dangerous drug, prescription drugs are dangerous. Marijuana has not killed anyone.”
She says this measure would “acknowledge it and legalize it up to one ounce, I believe. That’s our intent.”
Mark Woodward, with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, said, “I’ve seen it wreck more lives than any other drug.”
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics hopes the bill does not make it through the legislature. In fact, Woodward says marijuana is a dangerous drug. He says while a person can take a drink of alcohol and not get drunk marijuana always causes a person to become impaired.
Woodward said, “The big difference is everyone who smokes marijuana gets intoxicated, becomes high off of it and becomes a safety risk.”
Woodward believes legislation like this sets a bad example for young people in our state.
He said, “We’re trying to tell kids to stay off drugs and then they’re seeing voters and legislators voting to legalize getting high on drugs. That makes our job as parents, law enforcement and educators a lot more difficult.”
Though Senator Johnson strongly believes the drug is not dangerous.
She said, “We’ve legalized alcohol, which is far more deadly and dangerous than marijuana.”
She believes Oklahoma is getting closer to legalizing the drug.
Johnson said, “We’re making progress. I think the things that happened in Colorado will mean more action and activism in Oklahoma.”
Senator Johnson says a recent poll shows most Oklahomans do in fact support the legalization of marijuana.
Her bill will be considered during the upcoming session, which begins February 3, 2014.