Kay County Sheriff possibly breaks law with anti-SQ 788 Facebook rant
2:36 PM EDT on March 12, 2018
Last week, the opposition to State Question 788 – a.k.a. the medical marijuana legalization initiative – kicked into high gear.
The Oklahoman went first with another eye-roll inducing piece that tried to trick its few remaining living readers into believing Colorado has turned into some dystopian hell hole since the state legalized marijuana a few years ago. As a person who visits Colorado three or four times a year to see all my friends who moved up there for better-paying jobs and a happier life, I can tell you that's not the case.
The Oklahoman's propaganda was followed by a press conference at the Capitol by a group called "Oklahomans Against 788." They went with the classic "BUT THE CHILDREN" angle. Even though medical marijuana edibles are already regularly available on the black market, they're against legalization because there's a slight chance some stupid kid may eat the gummies their irresponsible parent left lying around and accidentally get stoned for a night. There's no word if the group is also for the prohibition of more dangerous items around the house, like candy-coated Advil, Bota Boxes or Tide Pods.
Another person hopping on the anti-SQ 788 bandwagon was Kay County Sheriff Steve Kelley. He used the Kay County Sheriff Department's official Facebook page as a pulpit to share his "concerns" about SQ 788.
Check it out:
The fact that an Oklahoma sheriff shared his "great concern" about marijuana legalization isn't surprising. Outside of gangs, drug dealers and Taco Bueno, they're about the only ones profiting off marijuana prohibition. One joint in your possession is all they need to give you a ticket, send you to jail, seize your assets and destroy your record. And if you can't afford to pay the court costs associated with the arrest, watch out! They'll send you to collection! I guess you can't really blame them for protecting what's theirs.
Anyway, an Oklahoma sheriff hopping on Facebook and sharing authoritarian, behind-the-times views on topics isn't anything new. They do it all time. What makes this a bit unique is that he's talking about a state question that will be on the ballot. According to an Oklahoma statute that was created in the 1970s, that may be illegal.
Any official in this state who shall direct or authorize the expenditure of any public funds under his care, except as specifically authorized by law, to be used either in support of, or in opposition to, any measure which is being referred to a vote of the people by means of the initiative or referendum, or which citizens of this state are attempting to have referred to a vote of the people by the initiative or referendum, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and the office held by such party shall be adjudged vacant and shall be filled in the manner prescribed by law.
When an Ogle Mole sent this to us, I asked if using Facebook to post a political rant is considered using "public funds." The Mole responded that since it was posted on the sheriff department's Facebook page – and not a private account – that a district attorney or whatever could make that case. They also mentioned that if the sheriff wrote the article on a state computer, or had his deputy or whatever put the article on Facebook, that a court could also consider that an improper use of state funds.
Anyway, I would say we'll watch and see what happens, but does anyone actually think anything will happen? Do we really think any DA or Attorney General or whoever would pursue this? Just like our sheriffs, they also profit from the prohibition of marijuana and would love to see SQ 788 fail. They'll probably just like and share the post to get the message out there.
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