Legislative Shenanigans – Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill


Sitting in committee is a bill that would reform the current civil asset forfeiture policy in Oklahoma. Currently, your property and cash may be seized by law enforcement and kept even if you are never charged with a crime. You may fight to have your property and cash returned but it will cost you. Basically, your property is guilty until proven innocent but even then you will have to pay to get it back. This is obviously a very flawed policy so why would those in charge of protecting our rights refuse to support it?

Per Mark Morris: “Cops in Oklahoma are seizing and spending money taken from US citizens, often with no charges every being brought, to the tune of $18k per day over the past 15 years! It’s getting worse. What am I talking about? People traveling through our state with cash are being robbed at gun point by our police, who are then using it to pay off student loans and live rent free. That’s right.”

Anthony Sykes, the committee chairman, is refusing to hear the bill.  Why would he do that? How can a legislator unilaterally refuse to hear a bill? (Also a flawed policy)

Oklahoma asset forfeiture reform faces stiff opposition

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – An Oklahoma legislator who wants to restrict when police can seize cash and other assets from people they suspect of drug-trade involvement – even without a conviction – fears his colleagues won’t have a chance to take up his idea this session.

The bill by Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Loveless says efforts to reach chairman Sen. Anthony Sykes have gone unanswered. He’s turned to his constituents to help plead his case, asking them to call the Senate leadership to request that his bill be heard.

Sykes did not return requests for comment Thursday or Friday.

Read more

Institute for Justice fellow: Oklahoma has chance to lead with forfeiture bill

[When civil forfeiture pays the bills, police and prosecutors have an incentive to take as much property as possible. Since 2000, law enforcement agencies have collected almost $99 million in forfeiture proceeds. That incentive warps law enforcement priorities, diverting resources toward fat financial targets and away from pursuing justice. For that reason, a recent report from the Institute for Justice, “Policing for Profit,” assigned Oklahoma’s civil forfeiture laws a D-minus grade.]

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Committee Contacts – Reference: SB 1189

Chairman Anthony Sykes

Vice Chairman Brian Crain

Corey Brooks

Kay Floyd

AJ Griffin

David Holt

John Sparks

Rob Standridge

Greg Treat

Roger Thompson

The REAL Elephant in the Room


I would like to address Fallin’s first point, “Oklahoma’s drug possession sentences haven’t deterred substance abuse”. Most people thrown in cages for using drugs are not necessarily “substance abusers”. This says people who are charged with a drug “crime” are abusers which is a fallacy. Substance users (or abusers) do not belong in prison. Substance use (or abuse) is not an issue for politicians much like someone with an alcohol or prescription narcotic addiction wouldn’t be. According to this statement Jaqie Angel Warrior and Austin’s Answer are criminals and substance abusers.

Her next statement, “These sentences tend to send some non-violent offenders into prison”. Incarcerating a person for a drug offense alone is a non-violent “offense”. There may be other, perhaps violent, crimes that this person may have committed, but the charge for drug use or even distribution is non-violent.

Her last statement, “live alongside violent offenders whose bad influences can make non-violent offenders worse”. This is almost a nonsensical statement. Incarcerating non violent “offenders” is a crime. Many people locked up for drug offenses aren’t merely “non-violent” they are peaceful people who are now subjected to violations by not only other inmates but the agents of the state charged to “care” for them.

While sentencing reforms are absolutely necessary the real elephant in the room is Oklahoma’s horrible Drug Policy. People are dehumanized for their personal choices and most often the only violence arriving from their choices is from the state via incarceration, guns pointed at them, homes invaded, children removed from loving homes and traumatized by doing so.

These are great talking points but let’s see some action. Lawmakers seem to be more concerned with frivolous things rather than addressing a real human rights violation that is Oklahoma Drug Policy.

The Drug War is good business for the state. It won’t loosen its grip easily or willingly. The CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) and GEO (formerly Wackenhut) have both engaged in state initiatives to increase sentences and create new crimes. The CCA sent a letter to 48 states offering to buy public prisons in exchange for a promise to keep them at 90% occupancy for 20 years. The prisons are for profit, yet still use tax dollars for funding and lease out captive labor to big business. With the private-public prison industry there is a contractual agreement to keep prisons at a certain capacity which of course is incentive to incarcerate people even for non-violent drug offenses.

The problem is not solved by enacting more laws, it is solved by protecting rights. Locking people up for non-violent drug offenses does not support liberty or freedom, it instead feeds the state, victimizes peaceful people in the form of taxation and incarceration, it keeps people out of the work force, and makes it much for difficult for them to attain a quality of life once released. Change will only occur with push back from those that are violated by these laws and that includes all of us. – Lisa Bowman




“Oklahoma’s State of the State is now in the history books and we can see what is important to us. Mary Fallin acknowledged that our drug laws and penalties are not working and that the resulting prison load is hard on the budget. Not that this has inspired fresh thinking about individual liberty and personal responsibility, but she is looking for some changes in the sentencing structure. She would give more discretion to prosecutors to reduce charges away from a felony and reduce the sentencing requirements for those convicted. This requires us to accept that 15 years is an improvement over life without parole and think it is a good thing. First and second time offenders could get off without doing prison time but I wouldn’t hold my breath thinking it is going to happen very often.” Clinton Wiles

Peace Fest 2015

Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma will be there! Drop by to sign the Medical MJ petition and buy a T Shirt to promote ending the drug war and declaring peace!

By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter

Over 60 organizations will come together at the 30th annual Fall Peace Festival creating a cornucopia of entertainment, information and items for holiday shoppers. The event is free and open to everyone.

The family-friendly festival will be held on Saturday, November 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Civic Center Music Hall’s “Hall of Mirrors”, 201 N. Walker, in downtown Oklahoma City.

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Highway Robbery and The Drug War


By Joanna Francisco






There are people who feed, house, and clothe their families by the income generated off laws that target a segment of the population for possessing a plant that, like so many other plants (maybe some in your garden right now), has medicinal properties.


Some people may use this plant NOT to combat symptoms of Crohn’s Disease, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS), Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Intractable Epilepsy, PTSD, or Chronic Pain, but rather, just like some people enjoy a beer at the end of the day, for relaxation.

But is that a valid justification for some to, by using government as the weapon, target partakers of a particular plant in order to fund their lifestyle? Or is that immoral? Should not these people who enrich themselves via unjust laws at the expense of the wealth of the public and the liberty of the convicted find useful work that is supported by the free market?

Small government pro-free-market people understand that ending the drug war is the solution.

The War on Drugs is Immoral. Help end it and declare peace.





3 Absurd Reasons for Banning Drugs

Did you know the war on drugs is founded on racist principles? Prof. Stephen Davies shows the historical thought process behind banning drugs. One of the main reasons drugs were banned initially is because people were concerned drug use would lead to interracial relationships. Can you imagine someone making that argument today? Yet it was a principle reason for some of the laws banning drugs that we still have. Other reasons for banning drugs included fear of conspiracies and the misguided notion that the government somehow has a right to the productivity of its citizens. All three of these reasons are truly absurd, but all three were historically used as arguments that contributed to the war on drugs. If these are the arguments on which the drug war is founded, can we be sure it’s a war worth fighting for?



Katie and Cayman’s Law and Oklahomans for Health Initiative

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a bill allowing a medical pilot program for cannabis oil.

The bill, known as “Katie and Cayman’s Law,” would allow medically supervised use of cannabis oil. Parents say that it is effective in treating children with epileptic seizures.

We are happy to see some progress in this area however, this bill will help only few and still leave many Oklahoma families living as medical marijuana refugees in Colorado.

It is wise to consider safety when using any kind of medication or treatment for ailments. However with so many other states effectively using medical marijuana to treat a vast array of diseases and disorders, limiting clinical trial studies to a very small handful of children here in Oklahoma is slowing much needed progress. While politicians believe they should be regulating medical treatments, people are suffering needlessly because their right to choose their own treatment is being denied.

Oklahomans for Health is preparing for the next initiative petition effort for medical marijuana by encouraging people to register to vote so that they may sign the petition as well as vote for the measure if it makes it to the ballot. They are also holding fundraisers throughout Oklahoma to support their efforts.

While Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma supports full legalization we are watching this initiative closely and will reserve commentary until we have had the opportunity to review the language. This initiative though will allow the opportunity for all patients to access medical marijuana and this is one more step towards drug peace.

Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma is dedicated to educating Oklahomans on the failure of the drug war, spreading awareness about the benefits of currently illegal drugs and supporting other initiative efforts.

If you would like to help us in our efforts to bring about Drug Peace and end the Drug War, please consider making a donation to our organization. With a $20 donation you will receive one of our T Shirts that will help spread awareness and the message that it’s time to end the war on drugs which is a war on our personal freedoms.

Click on photo to navigate to our donation page.




Annual Meeting – January 2015

Our annual meeting and general election was held in Tulsa at The Rusty Crane restaurant. We had a great turnout and several new members joined the organization.

Here is the current list of the Board of Directors and offices held.

  • Lisa Bowman
  • Dax Ewbank
    Vice President
  • Joanna Francisco
  • Clinton Wiles
  • Tina Kelly
    Board of Directors
  • Frank Grove
    Board of Directors
  • Danny Buntin
    Board of Directors
  • Mary West
    Board of Directors

Welcome new members and board members!


Joanna Francisco, Larry Kelly, Lisa Bowman, Tina Kelly, Clinton Wiles, Frank Grove, Jeff Pickens, Danny Buntin, Nancy Humphreys.

Joanna Francisco, Larry Kelly, Lisa Bowman, Tina Kelly, Clinton Wiles, Frank Grove, Jeff Pickens, Danny Buntin, Nancy Humphreys.

Secretary Joanna and New Member Nancy.

Secretary Joanna and New Member Nancy.

Annual Meeting – January 10th, 2015

Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma will hold its annual meeting Saturday, January 10th, 1pm-2:30 pm at The Rusty Crane, 109 North Detroit Ave, Tulsa, OK.
(DPRNOK is not funding this event. All expenses incurred are the responsibility of the individual.)

You are invited to attend as we discuss plans for the new year. Board and officer elections will also take place. If you are not yet a member, joining is easy and the dues are just $10 annually. If you would like to attend the meeting, you may join at that time. As a member, you may participate in discussion at regular meetings and are also eligible for election to the board. All offices are filled by board members.

2015 will be an active year regarding drug policy reform especially marijuana laws. It is not a matter of “if” but “when” the tide turns to support individual freedom and stop victimizing peaceful people in Oklahoma. It will take much work though as there is definite push back from legislators. The CBD bill is a tiny step but we must use that momentum to continue to educate and raise awareness of the benefits of marijuana for all while emphasizing the injustice and inefficiency of our current drug policy.

Fortunately, there were some victories in other states this year as well as change in federal policy regarding medical marijuana. It is only a matter of time but will require consistent activism.

All who are able and willing to volunteer are encouraged to do so. There are many ways to help and we can guide you in a direction that will work best for you. Please contact us with any concerns or questions you may have and we will be happy to help.

Oklahoma saw a surge in 2014 of activists working in various ways to change drug policy. Much was learned and despite some failures there were also many successes. 2015 is the year to unify and strengthen efforts.

If you would like to support the work of our volunteers, please consider donating or becoming a member.

Thank you,

Drug Policy Reform Network of Oklahoma


Victim of War on Drugs – Darrell Hayden: Life Sentence for Marijuana

A horrible human rights tragedy has been occurring in the “land of the free”. It is difficult to know what to do or how to alleviate the pain and suffering of the victims. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that this human rights violation is perpetuated by the very institution that was supposedly created to protect personal liberty. The guilty party is the US Federal Government followed by each state government that participates in such immoral acts. Ultimately, the actions fall on each individual who blindly follows orders and aggresses upon peaceful people and the person who has imagined he has a higher claim to another person’s life.

The stories never cease: a toddler dismembered, accidental killing of an innocent person or dog, children and adults denied life saving medicine for fear of being caged. Peaceful people who were acting well within their rights are kidnapped, their property and lives stolen, alienated from their family, to live out the rest of their life behind bars.

Recently, another story has crossed my path. It is that of Darrell Hayden. He is currently serving two life sentences for growing a plant…marijuana. That is all. He has never harmed anyone. His daughter, Lisa, says he was a caring man who often helped those in his community. She said that he helped older people in the area by checking on them and doing small jobs.

“Mostly, I remember he was always giving to his friends,” she said.

Darrell is victim of the “three strikes” rule. He was convicted of growing marijuana twice. The first time he served 60 days, the second time he served 5 months. It went from that to two life sentences. While any time served is hardly justifiable, two life sentences is an absolute travesty.

Making a difficult situation worse is Darrell’s heart condition. He underwent bypass surgery in November and his family was not notified beforehand. A time when a man needs his family nearby he was denied that right. His “crime” does not justify living the rest of his life in a cell, being moved from state to state with little to no contact with his loved ones.

Darrell was born and raised in Loretto, Kentucky. He graduated from St. Francis High School, and in June of 1968, he enlisted in the Army. He served a tour in Vietnam. After returning home, he worked at the Ford Motor Company, did farm work, constructed small buildings and raised horses.

Darrell is currently in the 16th year of his sentence. He has four children and many grandchildren, some of whom have only known him being in prison.

Based on the guidelines of the Clemency Project (https://www.clemencyproject2014.org/), Lisa and her cousin created a petition (SIGN here) seeking clemency for Darrell. While the petition has already been submitted with over 40,000 signatures, they encourage anyone interested to still sign it. They have also created a Facebook group.

While there are so many victims of the War on the Drugs, this case is particularly disheartening and unjustifiable. I encourage you to share this story. It represents so many others whose basic rights have been violated, whose families are denied precious time with their loved ones. Growing cannabis is not a legitimate crime. Stealing a peaceful person’s life is.

Further reading:
Fighting for Another Chance
This Vietnam Veteran Has Spent 16 Years in Prison Because He Grew Weed