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Drug Law Reforms On The Ballot?

Downgrading Some Crimes

Supporters of an initiative that would downgrade simple drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor say they have collected more than enough voter signatures to get it on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot.

Members of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform said boxes they dropped off Thursday at the Oklahoma Secretary of state’s office contained petitions with about 111,000 signatures for the proposal, and a like amount for a companion initiative.

Each measure needs about 65,000 voter signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate in the nation for women and one of the highest for men

Kris Steele, chairman of the group and former speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, said at a state Capitol news conference that the measures are designed to build “stronger, healthier, safer communities.”

“One in three people in Oklahoma’s prisons need mental health treatment, and one quarter of inmates are serving time for a non-violent drug offense,” he said.

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