By Steve Elliott
Darlene Mayes, a 74-year-old grandmother in Oklahoma, was accused of being the ringleader of a multi-state marijuana operation. On Friday, at the request of her defense attorneys Josh Lee and Clint ward, a judge dismissed all charges against Mayes, who in the press had been dubbed the "Ganja Granny" after her case got heavy media attention.
Last year, the arrest of Mayes made TV and print headlines around the world when, according to court documents, authorities accused her of having several pounds of marijuana and nearly $300,000 in cash.
Special Judge Rebecca Gore threw out a charge of possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute; also dismissed were two counts of possession of a firearm while in commission of a felony, according to court records.
Attorney Josh Lee had maintained that Mayes is innocent of the charges. Law enforcement officials, however, claimed that she was overseeing a large drug operation that was possibly responsible for 40 percent of the marijuana trade in the Grand Lakes, Oklahoma area.
By Steve Elliott
Marijuana possession penalties could be reduced in Oklahoma under a new bill in the state Legislature.
A second possession offense in Oklahoma, under current law, will get you a felony charge and two to 10 years in prison. But Rep. Cory Williams wants to make first and second offenses a misdemeanor in the state, reports Evan Anderson at NewsOn6.
The bill is off to a great start -- it already passed unanimously through the House Public Safety Committee on a 14-0 vote.
Rep. Williams said it just doesn't make any sense to burden Oklahoma citizens with felony records, when possessing cannabis is legal in some states.
"We have one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation and a lot of those are for what we consider law level, nonviolent drug offenses," Williams said. "And certainly marijuana is leading that."
A second marijuana possession offense is currently an automatic felony in Oklahoma. While Williams said his bill isn't necessarily a step towards legalizing pot in the state, it does make punishment more rational.
The proposed misdemeanor charge would still carry a maximum one-year sentence; after all, this is still Oklahoma -- think baby steps. (Manufacturing hash can get you a life sentence in this state.)
Williams said he is confident his bill will make it to the House floor.
By Dana Hertneky, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY - It's already legal in 18 states and Washington DC. Now some want to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma.
Two separate bills on the issue will be in the front of the state legislature this session, both written by Sen. Connie Johnson, (D)-Forest Park.
Johnson has been trying to get a medical marijuana initiative passed for several years, but her bills have never even been given a hearing. This time the language is more comprehensive and she says she just wants the issue to be vetted through the legislative process.
Ten years ago, Chuck Vaughn had surgery that fused three disks in his spine. The operation allowed him to go back to work, but he's lived every day since the operation in pain.
"It's 24-7, never quits, never," he explained. "I haven't slept in a bed in 10 years."
Chuck takes morphine two times a day, but says that doesn't work. He thinks Medical marijuana might and points to a U.S. Patent on cannabis that says the drug could help those with his condition.
"Doctors have told me they think I would be better off," he said.
By Russell Mills, KRMG
TULSA — Oklahoma may soon join a growing list of states who make medical marijuana available to some patients, and decriminalize its possession for recreational purposes.
KRMG spoke with customers at Duffy's Diner who support the proposals.
One woman said, "There are lots of people , ya know, they are sick. It helps them. They don't go out and sell it. They keep it and some of it comes in pill form."
A man who lost his father to cancer doesn't support the idea of legalizing pot for medical use.
He said, from a medical standpoint, I don't really agree that that's a good idea."
State Sen. Constance Johnson has filed separate bills.
One bill would direct the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to adopt rules allowing people with certain medical conditions to use the drug with permission from their physicians.
It would also establish fees for the "licensing, production, distribution and consumption" of medical marijuana.
Some people argue that alone could bring a great deal of money into the state's coffers.
Many also argue that decriminalizing the possession of pot would free police to enforce more violent crimes, reduce overcrowding in prisons, and take money out of the pockets of hardened criminals who use marijuana sales to fund more dangerous enterprises.
By Marika Lorraine, KFOR
OKLAHOMA CITY -- There's a move underway to legalize the use of medical marijuana in our state. Fourteen states have already done it. One Oklahoma woman tells us, when she tried to talk about the issue with her state senator, she ended up face-to-face with a number of law enforcement officers.
Denise Stahl lives taking 12 to 14 pills a day.
"I've been diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis C, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Arthritis, and Asthma."
Denise recently made a trip to the state capitol to discuss legalizing medical marijuana with her state senator.