Oklahoma voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide state Question 820, a ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana statewide. If passed, the initiative would legalize cannabis possession for adults 21 and older and establish a framework for controlling the recreational marijuana industry in the state.
Cannabis activists hoped so State question 820 (SQ 820) will appear before voters during the 2022 general election, but delays in ratifying the measure prevented the initiative from appearing on the ballot last November. In October, Oklahoma Governor Kevin State announced that voters would go to the polls on March 7 to decide the fate of the measure.
As activists gear up for Tuesday’s election, Michelle Tiley, campaign director for the Yes on 820 campaign, says legalizing cannabis gives voters “an opportunity to reject the ‘Reefer Madness’-style scare tactics pushed by our opponents and choose instead to support a reform that will make our state more prosperous, fairer, and safer.” “.
Tilly wrote in an email to: High times. “We are confident that if Oklahomans come out to vote, a pro-legalization majority will prevail.”
The vote on SQ 820 has been delayed by the Oklahoma Supreme Court
In July, the Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Law group submitted petitions with signatures from more than 164,000 voters in favor of the legalization initiative, far exceeding the number needed to qualify for the ballot. But the Secretary of State’s office, which used a new signature-verification system, took longer to certify signatures than in previous elections, leaving less time for the question to be included on the November ballot, according to election officials.
The SQ 820 campaign has challenged the decision to delay a vote on the initiative, arguing that the group has met all directions from the government and complied with deadlines for submitting the proposal to state officials. But last month, the state Supreme Court affirmed the election officials’ decision and ruled that the measure would not be included on the ballot for next month’s midterm elections.
“There is no way the SQ820 will be included on the general election ballot in November 2022.” Judge Douglas Coombs wrote In the opinion of the majority. “SQ820 will be voted on by the people of Oklahoma, albeit in the next general election after November 8, 2022, or in a special election determined by the Governor or the legislature.”
He announced the special election in October
In October, Oklahoma Governor Kevin State announced that he was calling a special election for SQ 820 on March 7, paving the way for state voters to finally be given the opportunity to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana. Since that time, activists have been busy preparing for the vote with public calls to gain support for the measure. On February 27, retired Army officer Guy Williams asked voters to endorse the ballot initiative, saying SQ 820 would help military veterans deal with the ongoing negative effects of their service.
“I proudly served this country to protect our freedom,” said Williams in a campaign advertisement. But for many veterans, that pride comes at a cost: post-traumatic stress disorder. Oklahoma veterans don’t have access to medical marijuana through the VA, so they suffer or risk harsh penalties, even jail time. that’s wrong. Yes to 820 means better access to medical marijuana for Oklahoma veterans, reduces punishment for minor marijuana offenses, and increases life-changing drug treatment.”
If voters approve SQ 820 on Tuesday, the ballot measure would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over. The initiative will task the state’s current medical marijuana authority with drafting and implementing rules to regulate the new recreational cannabis industry. The measure also includes provisions to allow those with prior convictions for certain marijuana offenses to petition the courts to have their criminal records expunged.
SQ 820 would cap a 15% tax on recreational marijuana sales, more than double the 7% tax rate charged on medical cannabis sales. Taxes generated from the entertainment pot sale will be split between the state’s general revenue fund, local governments that allow adult-licensed cannabis companies to operate in their jurisdiction, the state court system, school districts, and drug treatment programs.