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Please begin with an informative title:

That clunk you just heard was the sound of me falling out of my chair after reading this:

The Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee unanimously passed a bill yesterday that would make first and second offenses of marijuana possession a misdemeanor.
Oklahoma Marijuana Offenses Changed And Medical Marijuana Bill Killed By Senate Committee

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Oklahoma, the REDDEST of red states, has actually passed legislation that  reduces the penalties associated with marijuana possession. Currently, a first possession charge is a misdemeanor with up to a year of jail time and the second possession is a felony with mandatory prison time attached.
It seems that someone down there has finally gotten through to the legislators:

While the bill wouldn’t decriminalize cannabis, or legalize it by any means, it will take the plant off the list of substances for which a second offense results in a felony. “I believe that our constituents don’t support us coming down here and legalizing it, I do believe that they support us being smart on crime… We’re not being soft on it; we’re not legalizing it,” said Williams.
Now, granted, it's kind of silly to say they would be accused of being soft on crime if they legalized it, but not accused of the same thing for reducing the penalties, but let's just take these little victories when we can find them. This is Oklahoma we're talking about.

Unfortunately, the medical marijuana bill did not pass,

The vote came one day after the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-2 against Senate Bill 710. The Compassionate Use Act of 2013 would have allowed patients with qualifying medical conditions to possess up to eight ounces and grow up to 12 marijuana plants. Qualified patients would have also been able to acquire their cannabis from state-sanctioned collectives.
But there are other MMJ bills in the pipeline, so this issue is being kept alive. Please meet someone I've never heard of before, State Senator Constance Johnson (D- OKC):
State Sen. Constance Johnson (D-Oklahoma City) introduced the bill, and believes the hearing is a sign of progress. She has introduced similar legislation over the past six years, but none of them were even entertained. “I consider it a victory for the citizens of this state,” commented Sen. Johnson. “I think it’s a step in the right direction in terms of moving it forward and getting some indication of what people’s reservations are so we’ll know what to address.”
Bravo, Senator. If they can do this in Oklahoma, well, the future of decriminalization has a very bright future.
Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to skohayes on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:22 PM PST.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform and Oklahoma Roundup.

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