The State of Oklahoma recently passed a law increasing the sentence for producing hashish, a concentrated derivative of the cannabis plant, to a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of life imprisonment. On a first offense, no less.
The purpose of this legislation was to "send a message" about illegal drugs, according to the bill's original supporters in the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and Governor Mary Fallin and Oklahoma's legislature have certainly done that. This left me wondering: How are other crimes treated in Oklahoma? What messages are they the subject of?
More specifically, what crimes are punished less harshly- and, it can thus be reasonably inferred, are considered less objectionable? After a bit of research into the minimum and maximum sentences allowed for various crimes under Oklahoma law, I've compiled an incomplete list of things that, while not smiled upon by Oklahoma's rulers, are more acceptable to them than the prospect of Oklahoma residents being able to smoke hashish. Maximum sentences for other crimes in Oklahoma include:
Using threats or violence to force a child into prostitution- 25 years
Forcible sodomy- 20 years
Assault or battery with a knife, firearm, or other deadly weapon- 10 years
Battery causing bone fracture, protracted and obvious disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of a body part, organ or mental faculty, or substantial risk of death- 5 years
Abandonment of a child under the age of 10 by his or her parent or legal guardian- 10 years
Culpable negligence resulting in the death of a human being- 4 years
Urinating, defecating, or ejaculating on a child for sexual gratification- 20 years
Forcible restraint of a woman in a house of prostitution- 20 years
Using letters or other printed materials to threaten someone with death or bodily harm- 1 year
Premeditated infliction of a disfiguring or disabling injury- 7 years
Procuring a child for the production of child pornography- 20 years
So, there you have it. Message read and received.
I don't endorse breaking the law, and needless to say the governor and legislature of Oklahoma don't either. But if you do, then for the sake of both the common weal and your own conscience at least restrain yourself to less heinous crimes that are less destructive to the rights and well-being of your fellow citizens. Sell a child into sexual slavery. Show your next-door neighbor that you don't appreciate his critical remarks about the state of your front lawn by shooting him in the face with a nail gun. Cut off the pinky finger of an annoying coworker with a meat cleaver and wear it on a necklace as a warning to the others. Mail your former spouse or significant other a series of packages containing recently killed and dismembered animals, each one larger than the last and accompanied by a crudely handwritten note that says THIS IS YOU.
But while you do so, for the love of God please don't sink so low as to make hash. The government of Oklahoma will thank you.