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From a historical standpoint, Medical Marihuana has been safely in use for its medical values since the days of the pyramids.   In fact the oldest complete medical textbook known to the human race, “The Ebers Papyrus” (1,550 BC) contains more then just one reference to its medical uses.   And other written references (Mesopotamian clay tablets) may be much, much older than that.   Simply put, it is a safe assumption to make that Medicinal Marihuana has been in use for thousands and thousands of years.   Yet throughout all of history,   NOT ONE DEATH has ever been attributed to its use, making it one of the safest medicines available. [1]

Moving on to more modern history, between the 1840’s and the 1940’s, literally thousands of Marihuana based medicines were manufactured by pharmaceutical firms such as Eli Lilly & Co., Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Lab’s, etc. [2]   Thus, while no solid evidence can be provided, it is obvious that Marihuana made it’s way unto the chuck wagons of the great Oklahoma land-run of 1889.   And (as can be seen below) it is a certainty that Medical Cannabis (or Marihuana) was well in use on Amer-Indian reservations well before then.

As Per "The 58th-Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (1889)
Thus (given the large number of Oklahoma's indian reservations, it can be said that Medical Cannabis was here right from the get go.

Thus it can be said, that Marihuana made its way into the State, right from the very beginning.   And it should be noted that “No One”, was talking about putting people in jail for “Possession of Medical Marihuana” back than.   It would be some time (about 44 years later) before that would come to pass.   In fact, there’s a (sick, but factual) joke dealing with our police and the use of Marihuana: [3]
“Today in Oklahoma City, if a sheriff’s deputy catches you with Medical Marihuana, they put you in the county jail.   But there was a time [before the Marihuana Tax Act], when you went to jail first, AND THEN (while there) the sheriff’s deputy gave you the Medical Marihuana.”
And according to the public records, more than one county jail was providing Marihuana to its inmates.   And why shouldn’t they have?   Wasn’t Marihuana being prescribed for its medical values by Doctors here throughout Oklahoma at the time. [4]   --- Thus at least from a historical viewpoint, one must question the very existence of the anti-Marihuana Laws.   However (as history turned out) no amount of fact could possibly overcome a massive hysteria campaign, today known as the Reefer Madness Era.   Examples: [5]
“The dangers inherent in marihuana use were demonstrated dramatically during the year with the sentencing of Carl Murphy, an Oklahoma City, Okla., bellhop, to 10 years in prison for the slaying, while under the influence of the weed, of a Federal building guard.   The slaying culminated a series of brawls in which Murphy participated, and of which he professed to have no recollection after the effects of the weed wore off.   Four others were sentenced in this case as the suppliers of marihuana.   --- H. J. Anslinger, Commissioner of Narcotics, said this case is but one of many in the files of the Bureau that involve crimes of violence carried out by persons under the influence of the drug.   He warned against complacency on the part of the public toward the marihuana problem.   He pointed out that while not all persons always display violent reactions to marihuana, there are many instances of persons who, like Murphy, appear of mild and harmless temperament, displaying maniacal characteristics after using the weed.”   –-- As per the Congressional Record 1945

“1937 - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - M Smoked marihuana 12 years.   Arrested for raping his 13-year old daughter.   Previous criminal record-assault with knife; sale marihuana; assault with knife; vagrancy.   Arrested”   --- Article by James C. Munch; "UN Bulletin on Narcotics"-1966 Issue 2

“The Tulsa (Okla.) Tribune reports the home of a Mexican hot-tamale salesman, recently arrested, was a dope den for boys and girls of high-school age.”   --- The Literary Digest (Magazine) Oct 24, 1936
How would Adolph Hitler have said it;  Tell a Big Enough Lie, Tell it Often Enough, and the People of Oklahoma will believe.   And boy did Oklahoma believe.   To this day there are those who still believe that Marihuana will make you jump out of a fifth story window, or grab an axe and chop your parents to death, etc.   (And don’t laugh, in the course of preparing this report, we’ve ran into them).

However (be that as it may), it can safely be said that NOT very many people today accept that viewpoint.   And given the vast amount of scientific data contradicting the original reasoning for the law’s creation;  --- That being that Marihuana leads to sure insanity, and was the instigator of violent crimes (especially among the darker skin races).   It stands to reason that there must be other reasons why these laws are still allowed to remain on the books.

This report will go over some of these reasons, however due to its financial nature, we will ONLY cover those reasons that bear a direct impact on the State finances.   Example, how the Private Prison Guard Industry profits from this situation, or how municipalities make use of the Marihuana laws to obtain funds under Drug Forfeiture/Asset Seizure Laws, etc.   However, as will quickly become apparent to the reader, the logic behind our present day laws are a subject in need of a white paper of its own and thus way-beyond the subject matter of this report.   AGAIN, THIS REPORT SEEKS TO LIMIT ITSELF ONLY AND SOLELY TO THE FINANCIAL COSTS OF STATEWIDE MARIHUANA LAW INCARCERATION.

This report was put together just a few short months after a border state (Colorado) legalized Marihuana, thus finally putting an end to (what many feel was) their failed prohibition effort.   Yet already, their Governor Hickenlooper is touting the fact that their state government is expecting to raise between $80 million and $133 million dollars in revenue from legalized Marihuana.
According to the Associated Press:   “Colorado's legal marijuana market is far exceeding tax expectations, according to a budget proposal released Wednesday by Gov. John Hickenlooper that gives the first official estimate of how much the state expects to make from pot taxes.“ [6]
And as if to add insult to injury, the articles go on to say that their Governor is already trying to figure out new ways of spending the money.

HERE in Oklahoma however, it appears that we are NOT ONLY depriving ourselves of this new revenue stream, but are still saddled with the various financial (Police Law Enforcement costs, Court Costs, Prison Incarceration expenses, etc.), associated with prohibition.   A situation that begs the obvious question;   --- WHAT EXACTLY ARE THESE COSTS?   Just how much is it costing the taxpayers of Oklahoma to enforce the Marihuana Prohibition laws?

Yes, that is correct, it appears that in the whole of the state of Oklahoma, no governmental agency nor bureau head knew the answer.   Even when asked more specific questions such as the costs of prison incarceration for marihuana offenders; again, no answers were forthcoming.   A situation which of-and-by itself begs yet another question, “WHY NOT?”

In the past, the reasons for this lack of knowledge were self-evident:
  •   First Oklahoma was particularly hit hard by the Reefer Madness campaign and as such (even to this day), we have a lot of residual Reefer Madness over here. [7]  
  •   Next, (here in Oklahoma) until very recently, it was always just assumed that everyone in the whole of the state supported the existence of the anti-Medical Marihuana laws, and as such were willing to pay whatever was needed to incarcerate its users.   Thus no need (or desire) to know about these costs.
HOWEVER, recent polls indicate that today the vast majority (over 70%) of all Oklahoman’s DO NOT support these laws.   And probably the reason why so many people now are indeed asking questions about their costs to the taxpayer.

Which now bring us to the reasons for the creation of this report.   Since the creation of the Oklahoma Voters League (a pro-Medical Cannabis group) some few years ago, we have had numerous individuals, and even some private groups, come up to us with the following two questions.
How many individuals are presently under state incarceration for Marihuana?

What is it costing us (as taxpayers) to incarcerate them?
In fact so many people were asking us these two (very simple) questions, that it quickly proved to be an embarrassment.   Such an embarrassment that it was decided to seek out the answers.   AND ON PAPER, the answers should have been very readably available.   Unlike more general questions, dealing with overall costs, these two limited themselves to very specific information which under “Oklahoma’s Open Records Act”, one would presume are part and parcel of Oklahoma’s prison ledgers and as such open to the general public.   Additionally, logic and reason would dictate that Oklahoma’s “Bureau of Justice”, or Dept. of Corrections, or (Dept of) “Statistical analysis Center”, should at least know, “How Many Prisoners Are Presently Incarcerated For Marihuana?”   And with that number we'll then be able to calculate (more or less) what it is costing the taxpayers for their incarceration.   HOWEVER, (this being Oklahoma) the situation was not so simple.   And the answers (despite our many requests to numerous state agencies) were not forthcoming.   Again, (simply put), nobody knows (or admits to knowing) the answers.   BUT HOW COULD THAT BE?” *

How can it be that NO-ONE knows the answer?   Are we expected to believe that:
  •   That ALL our state bureaucrats are just out-and-out inept?
  •   Or that they ALL just suffer from a basic lack the curiosity?
  •   That despite the need to know on the part of numerous sociologists, criminologists, etc., that not one of them had ever previously asked these very same question?
  •   That none of them are computer literate and thus simply couldn't put together a simple data-based program to obtain the answer?
Or (facetiously speaking) maybe the bureaucrats are so busy explaining to the very numerous inquires exactly how and why they don’t know the answers.   That they therefore don’t have to time to simply go out and get the answer. . .

Or maybe (as some have suggested) something a bit more sinister is in the works and the fact that "they don't know." is no mire accident of chance.   And in fact there is some level of evidence that a deliberate attempt to "hide" what to them must be very embarrassing information, is in effect taking place.   A subject that (by necessity) seems to continually crop up, over and over again, within the pages of this report.

HOWEVER be that as it may, (as will be shown within these pages), the actual figure could technically range anywhere from $9.5 million all the way up to $88 million (U.S. dollars) per year.

Costs of Marihuana Incarceration

And unfortunately, this figures ONLY represent the physical/financial costs of actual prison incarceration by the State of Oklahoma.   It DOES NOT account for such things as:
  •   Police enforcement time and costs
  •   Court/Time Costs and expenses
  •   County/Local Jail incarceration while awaiting trial, etc.
  •   Lost State Taxes (sales, income tax, etc.) revenues of inmates.
  •   Costs of removing children (child protective services) from Medical Marihuana addicted parents
  •   Any form of Federal detention (Military prisons, Federal prisons, ICE or immigration detention facilities, etc.), taking place within the state of Oklahoma.
  •   Parolee monitoring costs and expenses, etc.

How much are Oklahoma taxpayers paying to incarcerate their citizens in our state institutions for Marihuana?   On paper, the answer should be very easy to calculate; -- Simply find out the number of state prisoners doing time for marihuana and then multiply that number by the amount it is costing us to keep each prisoner in jail.   This should be very simple; --- but the problem is that it’s not.

To begin with, (as previously mentioned), it appears that No One in the whole of Oklahoma’s state government seems to know EXACTLY how many people are presently being incarcerated for Marihuana.   Something that appears to many of us to be quite odd if not an out and out impossibility, however, be that as it may, this (at least on the surface) seems to be the case.   Thus making it literally impossible for anyone to simply plug in the numbers and do a quick tabulation.
THE SECOND PROBLEM, faced by this report (hey did you think this was going to be easy) is that there’s quite a bit of disagreement as to what exactly it does cost us (financially) to incarcerate someone at the state level.   However, in this case we do have some statistical insights into the matter, and for the purposes of this report we have chosen to use a figure of $15,167 per inmate per year.   [see Sec. 3.1 - this report]

As has already been ascertained, before the creation of this report, NO LEGITIMATE DATA (anywhere within the state of Oklahoma) existed on the financial costs of Marihuana prohibition.   Which brings us to the reasons behind the creation of this report (the first of a series of reports).   To provide those interested with the first TRUE and HONEST financial statistics on the subject.   And while (obviously) the authors are anti-prohibitionists, we feel we are capable of following where the facts lead, instead of manipulating the math to our advantage.   And throughout this report, (wherever possible), ALL our mathematical steps are documented, as well as our logic in following certain statistical paths.

HOWEVER, due to the complexity it is all but impossible, in any one report, to calculate ALL-THE-COSTS associated with Marihuana prohibition.   Thus we limit ourselves (in this report) SOLELY to the financial costs of prison incarceration and then ONLY at the state level.   Thus we will NOT be dealing with:
  •   The costs of trials, nor Court Time and Costs
  •   Police Law Enforcement time and costs
  •   County/Local Jail incarceration while awaiting trial
  •   Lost wages (loss state income tax, lost sales taxes, etc.) due to incarceration
  •   Costs of maintaining children in foster care (due to “ah” Medical Marihuana using parents)
  •   Etc.
Additionally, we will NOT deal with the ethical/moral issues of prohibition laws.   True this report will have to make mention of those issues (example, children being taken away from their parents due to their medical needs), but we will endeavor to do so SOLELY because of their economic impact and nothing more.   --- ONCE MORE, throughout this report we endeavor, not to mold the math into our beliefs, but to go where it leads.

* ADDENDUM-C; Contains a sample letter sent to the various state agencies.

[1]-   http://antiquecannabisbook.com/chap2B/History.htm
[2]-   Examples of which can be found at the following website:
[3]-   See “Antique Andy’s - "Believe it or Nuts"”
[4]-   For prescription examples:
[5]-   For more:
[6]-   As per
[7]-   The following website has some very good examples of what was going on during the campaign: