Yes on 820 campaign submits well over the required number of signatures to qualify for the ballot
Earlier this year, Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws filed language to let voters decide the issue of cannabis legalization in Oklahoma. After a fast-paced and hard fought petition drive, supporters submitted over 160,000 signatures the day after July 4th this year in the effort to qualify their initiative for the ballot.
Campaign leaders are confident the measure will be approved, and officials are expected to certify ballot access after they finish reviewing the submitted petitions. . If ultimately approved by voters, the measure would allow individuals 21 and older to possess and purchase up to one ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to six mature cannabis plants at home.
The ballot question would establish a regulated adult-use market and a 15% tax on cannabis sales, with revenues directed to education programs, substance misuse treatment services, and the state’s general fund. The initiative also contains provisions to protect parental rights of cannabis consumers and a process to facilitate the expungement of past convictions for cannabis offenses.
During the spring months of 2022, the Oklahoma Legislature considered many bills that affect the existing medical cannabis program in the state, which was enacted thanks to a 2018 ballot initiative approved by voters. Among the bills that passed includes a law that halts the issuance of new cannabis business licenses from 2022 to 2024.
On June 26, 2018, Oklahoma voters legalized medical cannabis, creating access for patients with debilitating health conditions. After that, the state became the quickest in the nation to fully implement an effective medical cannabis law.
Licensed medical marijuana patients and caregivers are allowed to possess and grow limited amounts of cannabis and to purchase cannabis from regulated businesses. (You can read our summary of SQ 788 here.)
Oklahoma’s program is one of the largest in the nation. Roughly 10% of Oklahomans are currently registered as medical cannabis patients..
Oklahoma City decriminalizes possession; ask state lawmakers to follow suit
On September 24, 2018, the Oklahoma City Council approved reducing the penalty for simple possession of cannabis to a fine of up to $400. Until the new law took effect on October 26, 2018, the maximum fine for possession was $1,200 and six months of jail time. Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty recommended the ordinance, explaining it would keep the city safer by allowing officers to stay on the streets.
Penalizing individuals with jail time and a criminal record for possessing small amounts of cannabis wastes law enforcement resources. It can also lead to a lifetime of harsh consequences, including denial of student financial aid, housing, employment, and professional licenses. You can find more information on decriminalization here.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Oklahoma, be sure to subscribe to MPP's alerts, if you haven't done so already.
Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives recently approved HB 2722, which puts arbitrary caps on the number of medical cannabis businesses allowed in Oklahoma and creates impediments for new entrepreneurs to enter the industry. Passage of this legislation would only reduce competition and limit patients’ options.