How Is Marijuana Possession Treated In Oklahoma?
Oklahoma City Possession of Marijuana
First time marijuana use or personal possession will be criminally charged as a misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Once the July 1st law change occurs, personal possession of marijuana will always be charged as a misdemeanor. Oftentimes, people possess marijuana for personal use but end up being charged with something more severe. I refer to these charges as legal traps. Most commonly, the more severe charge is possession with intent to distribute. This can result from a variety of situations, such as a person carrying drugs in two separate bags, making a statement about sharing the drugs with a friend, or having a scale among their possessions. Any one of these scenarios can result in an officer automatically charging a person with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Another charge that I consider to be a legal trap is possession within 1,000 feet of a school or park. For example, if a person is pulled over on a traffic stop in a location that happens to be within 1,000 feet of a school or a park, and a small amount of marijuana is found in their car, the officer can automatically charge that person with a felony. Similarly, if a person is found to have marijuana in their car or home and they also have a child under the age of 12 in the vicinity of that marijuana, the resulting charge would be felony possession in the presence of a minor under 12 years of age.
Is There Any Movement To Legalize Medical Marijuana In Oklahoma?
There is absolutely a movement to legalize marijuana in Oklahoma. In fact, last November there was a petition to get that issue on the ballot. I believe a sufficient number of signatures were acquired, but something went wrong that prevented it from ending up on the ballot. Despite liberal minded state legislators being an extreme minority, there are a few of them that do support medical marijuana usage and even some that support legalization.
What Are The Laws That Address Drug Paraphernalia In Oklahoma?
A charge of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, which carries up to one year in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Drug paraphernalia is typically defined as anything that is used to manufacture, store, prepare, or grow a controlled substance. The most common types of paraphernalia that I see are pipes and syringes, but even zip lock bags can be considered drug paraphernalia. Other items that people may not commonly think about are digital scales and rolling papers. However, almost anything that an officer can attempt to connect to drug use could potentially result in a drug paraphernalia charge.
Oftentimes, people are charged with possession of drug paraphernalia because they have it in plain view of an officer. For example, if an officer is conducting a traffic stop and clearly sees a marijuana pipe sitting on the console, they would have probable cause to do a full search of the vehicle.
The other big problem I see is paraphernalia that is found to contain drug residue. If an officer can scrape enough residue to register a positive test, he can charge you with possession of that substance. In that scenario, you would not only be looking at a possession of drug paraphernalia charge, but also a drug possession charge.
How Are Forging Drug Prescriptions Dealt With In Oklahoma?
Forgery of drug prescriptions is considered a drug charge in Oklahoma. The important thing to note is that a forged prescription charge is considered a felony and carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, as well as $10,000 in fines. If you hand over a forged or altered prescription to a pharmacist, and they see something that they think is suspicious, they can call police immediately. If the prescription is found to be forged or altered, you could face a felony charge.
Oklahoma has really tightened their investigation and prosecution of prescription drug charges. They use something called the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), which is a huge database that contains names and contact information for anyone who has had a controlled substance prescription filled. The PMP can be reviewed by district attorney’s offices, law enforcement agencies, and physicians. So, if you presumably get caught with one altered prescription, they could check out any other prescriptions that you have received in the past. A person can’t necessarily face charges for doctor shopping, but that’s certainly one of the investigative tools that they look for. The database can also be used to investigate physicians who they suspect are over-prescribing. So, it is used both for people who have developed an addiction to prescription medications, and for doctors who may be over-prescribing controlled substances.