By Phillip Smith
Oklahoma NORML Friday released survey results from a Sooner Poll showing strong support for medical marijuana and majority support for marijuana decriminalization. The poll had support for medical marijuana at 71% and support for decriminalization at 57%. The poll did not ask about legalization.
The poll of registered voters was conducted between August 28 and September 9. The margin of error is +/- 4.9%.
If someone is going to be arrested for a marijuana offense, nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) said they should be treated instead of jailed.
Under current Oklahoma law, possession of any amount can earn one up to a year in jail for a first offense and from two to 10 years for a second offense. Marijuana sales---of any amount---can earn a sentence of up to life in prison.
The state's largest cities were the most in favor of fixing the state's pot laws. In metro Oklahoma City and Tulsa, support for medical marijuana was higher than 75%, and support for decriminalization was at 67% in Tulsa and at 63% in Oklahoma City.
Even Oklahoma's notoriously conservative Republicans are ready for change. Support for decriminalization came from 53% of Republicans interviewed, lower than the 60% of Democrats and 65% of independents, but still surprising.
"I do hope that the polling results will help legislators feel more comfortable supporting marijuana reform," Oklahoma NORML leader Norma Sapp told the Oklahoma Observer. "I always encourage people to contact the legislators. I think a state wide lobby day will be called when the need comes."
Senator Constance Johnston (D-Oklahoma City), who has filed medical marijuana bills for several years now without managing to get a hearing, told the Observer the poll echoed what she had been hearing from constituents.
"I like the results. This is very telling. It confirms what we're being told across the state," Johnston said, adding that they could help ease legislators' worried minds. "The results make you wonder what these elected officials are afraid of," she said.