Earlier this week, Colorado officially lifted its ban on recreational marijuana, allowing retail sale of pot without a prescription. People across the nation have been calling stores in the Centennial state asking if it is really, truly legal to buy marijuana for recreational use. The answer, following a November 2012 vote, is yes. But here is the caveat for those traveling to buy legal marijuana--you can't take it with you.
Oklahoma's Stance on Marijuana
In Oklahoma, it is illegal to possess marijuana, even if you purchased it legally in another state. Furthermore, the state will not recognize a valid prescription for medical marijuana from a state which recognizes the drug's medicinal purpose.
If you are caught with marijuana in Oklahoma, you will be charged with drug possession. On the first offense, marijuana possession is a misdemeanor, but if you have been convicted of a drug offense before, it is a felony.
If you travel north to legally buy marijuana and are caught bringing a little home to share with your friends, you can be charged with possession with intent to distribute or drug distribution. It does not matter if you bought it legally. It does not matter if you were planning to share it, not sell it. You could be charged with a felony that carries significant penalties.
Harshest Punishments in the U.S.
Oklahoma has earned the nickname "marijuana hell," and it has been designated number one on the "5 Worst States to Get Busted with Pot." Look at any list of the longest sentences handed down for marijuana related crimes, and Oklahoma will appear three to four times. Just ask Will Foster (93 years for cultivation for medical use), Jimmy Montgomery (life for possessing two ounces for medical use and a firearm he inherited from his father), James Geddes (150 years for growing five marijuana plants), and Patricia Spottedcrow (12 years for selling $31 worth of marijuana).
All of the above were eventually released early under media and civil rights pressure, but not before serving a significant amount of time. Montgomery, a paraplegic, was granted medical parole, but not before losing a leg to an ulcerated bed sore he developed in prison.
In Colorado, public consumption of marijuana is still prohibited, and state residents are limited to purchasing one ounce at a time. Buyers from out of state are limited to only a quarter-ounce. Because of the concern that marijuana will be transported to states where its possession is illegal, all marijuana is prohibited at the Denver International Airport.
Understanding the Consequences
Before you head north to purchase your quarter-ounce allotment of legal pot, be sure you understand the consequences of trying to bring it home. A first offense of marijuana possession in Oklahoma is a misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A second offense within ten years of the first is a felony punishable by two to ten years in prison. Possession with intent to distribute is a felony on the first offense. It carries a minimum of two years with a maximum of life in prison. Learn more about Oklahoma drug laws here.
If you are caught with marijuana in Oklahoma, you need immediate legal representation. Call (405) 778-4800 or click here to schedule a risk-free consultation.