Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws on Tuesday turned in more than 164,000 signatures to the Oklahoma Secretary of State. That’s, like, more than enough padding to qualify State Question 820 for the November ballot. SQ 820 would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over if passed.
The measure would amend the Oklahoma state constitution, making adult-use Cannabis a right, reports KTUL.
Supporters say 820 will generate much-needed state revenue for essential priorities, including schools, health care, and local governments. They believe the measure will responsibly and comprehensively regulate the industry to protect public health and safety.
“Oklahomans Are Ready To Take The Next Step”
“The overwhelming number of signatures we have received demonstrates that our campaign has the momentum, and that Oklahomans are ready to vote to legalize recreational marijuana for adults,” said Campaign Director Michelle Tilley. “We are grateful to the thousands of Oklahoma voters who signed State Question 820 and believe in responsible marijuana policy.”
”We have been overwhelmed by the tremendous outpouring of support for State Question 820 and the momentum of our campaign,” said Senior Campaign Advisor
Ryan Kiesel. “The massive number of signatures we collected means that Oklahoma voters are ready to take the next step in common-sense marijuana laws and make major investments in critical state services.”
The organization needed to collect 95,000 signatures by August 1 in order to get the measure on the November ballot, reports KFOR.
“They Have Shown Themselves Capable”
“We believe the legislature, as they learn more and more about this industry, they have shown themselves capable of adapting this into the rest of our government,” said Tilley.
The biggest hurdle is getting a Yes vote on the ballot in November. Support for medical marijuana only got 56% of the vote in the previous election, so the margin is slim to pass this question.
After that, the Oklahoma Legislature could delay implementation.
This Isn’t 818 or 819, Mind You…
SQ 820, sponsored and funded by corporate Cannabis interests, unfortunately isn’t as good as another measure sponsored by a separate organization. The group behind that much stronger legalization measure hasn’t been able to get enough signatures to cross the qualification threshold. As we reported at the time, Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action (ORCA) filed a pair of petitions in October 2021.
State Question 818 (originally 817) would make recreational marijuana legal, reports Fox 23. The tax rate on weed would have been at 15%. The revenue would have paid for local education military veterans’ mental health programs and other social programs. This petition also included an expungement of records for those who have prior marijuana convictions.
State Question 819 (originally 818) would have created the Oklahoma State Cannabis Commission. The commission would also have been separate from all other agencies. The new commission would have additionally replaced the state’s current medical marijuana oversight agency, reports Tulsa World.
Garrison: Criminal Justice Provisions Will Help Oklahomans
Activist Shelly Garrison McMillan worked on the successful campaign to pass Measure 788 to get medical marijuana in Oklahoma. Just over a year after 788 passed in 2018, a group called New Approach showed up in the state, McMillan said.
“We voted in 788 in June 2018 and dispensaries opened in October 2018. Then here comes the national organization New Approach in December 2019,” McMillan told the Leaf. ”It took three days until they said their SQ 806 was written by the ACLU with no input.
“The same group behind SQ 806 is also behind SQ 820,” she told us. ”We don’t like the ACLU making our decisions with no input.”
McMillan, like many involved with 788, noted that the corporate interests which are bankrolling SQ 820 came into the state only after medical marijuana was a done deal.
“The biggest issue the folks from 788 have is just the money interests come so late,” McMillan told us. ”I am not hating them,” she said. ”I just wanted support years earlier, really. We did medical petitions in 2014, 2015 and 2016.”
According to McMillan, though, the criminal justice provisions in the new adult-use SQ 820 will help Oklahomans. “I am for that happening,” McMillan told the Leaf Tuesday.