Three of the state’s leading agriculture organizations gathered March 1 for a press conference opposing State Question 820 today in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association and American Farmers and Ranchers strongly oppose the state question appearing on ballots Tuesday, March 7. Members of all three organizations believe the legalization of recreational marijuana use will be harmful to rural Oklahoma and Oklahomans across the state.
Rodd Moesel, OKFB president, acknowledged the overwhelming sentiment from the organizations’ members on Oklahoma’s marijuana industry.
“Each of us has spent a disproportionate amount of time hearing from our members with concerns about marijuana and the impact within their rural communities,” Moesel said. “A lot of times that gets lost in the urban environment, but in the rural environment, a lot of these changes have showed up very dramatically and have had a big factor in the fabric of many of our rural communities.”
Moesel noted the significant impact SQ 820 will have on Oklahoma’s youth.
“Our members do a lot of work with youth groups, so we are particularly concerned about our young people and very worried about the impact the increasing availability and access to marijuana might have on our young people across the state and in our rural communities,” he said.
Byron Yeoman, OCA president, echoed the impact the state question would have on Oklahoma’s rural communities.
“The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association opposes State Question 820 because it invites even more marijuana activity to our rural communities, and we must protect our rural way of life from out-of-state and foreign interests that do not have the best interests of our state at heart,” Yeoman said.
Scott Blubaugh, AFR president, underscored the strain that increased marijuana use would have on Oklahoma’s agriculture industry, including tying up valuable Oklahoma farmland and posing continued communication challenges with neighboring grow operations ahead of applying herbicides and other land stewardship practices.
“We have seen the negative impact the rapid growth of the unregulated medical marijuana industry has had on Oklahoma agriculture and the rural communities,” Blubaugh said. “We have seen a rise in farming challenges, and we have seen a strain on our rural electric and our rural water utilities. We have also seen a rise in crime. We oppose State Question 820 because additional growth in Oklahoma’s marijuana industry will mean additional difficulties for our farmers and ranchers.”
All three organizations are members of the “Protect Our Kids – No on SQ 820” coalition and encourage Oklahomans to vote no at the polls on March 7.