“You need to ask yourself, is society going to be a safer place with more people going around high on drugs,” Woodward said. “All legalization does is it says, ‘I can go around and keep doing what I'm doing now and no one can stop me.'”
Both alcohol and prescription drugs are legal and taxed, and they still are at the center of the largest drug problems in our society, Woodward said.
“You don't solve the problem by legalizing drugs; you open a floodgate,” Woodward said. “That didn't solve our problems in 1919 when we lifted prohibition. Alcohol is now the most abused drug in the world. How does that change if we legalize marijuana? ‘Oh, it's legal now, so I'm going to stop smoking,' said no one ever.”
Both Senate Bill 2116 and Senate Bill 902 were authored by Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Forest Park, who has been an adamant supporter in the Legislature for marijuana decriminalization for several years. She said not only would legalization take power away from drug dealers and private interests, as well as create revenue for the public, it would also stop the flow of nonviolent offenders into the state's prisons.
“It's choking all of the money out of the economy,” Johnson said. “We're paying more to private prisons. A lot of special interests have their hands in this pot, and I'm thinking that's the basis for a lot of the resistance to change in the policies. Too may people are making money off of this and, in my mind, too many Oklahomans are losing families.”
Johnson said while the support for the issue gives her hope, she also recognizes the state is slow to make social change.
“We're Oklahoma. Enough said.”