Oklahoma cannabis advocates began gathering signatures May 3 in an effort to send an adult-use legalization measure to the November ballot.
The group behind State Question 820 must collect signatures from 8% of the total number of voters who casted votes during the last general election for the office of governor, according to a NonDoc.com report. This year, the required number of signatures is 94,911.
SQ 820 would allow adults 21 and older to purchase cannabis from dispensaries without a medical cannabis card, NonDoc.com reported, and would levy a 15% excise tax on adult-use purchases to fund the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), as well as schools, court systems and drug addiction treatment programs.
The measure would also establish a judicial process for those convicted of cannabis-related crimes to seek “modification, reversal, re-designation, or expungement” of those convictions, according to NonDoc.com.
Organizers have 90 days to gather the required number of signatures, meaning signatures must be submitted by Aug. 1, according to the news outlet.
While SQ 820 would be codified in Oklahoma’s statutes, two other cannabis-related initiative petitions, which are awaiting final approval to begin signature collection, would change the state’s Constitution.
State Question 818 would create a State Cannabis Commission that would replace the OMMA and guarantee patients’ medical cannabis access in the Oklahoma Constitution, NonDoc.com reported.
State Question 819 would legalize adult-use cannabis and guarantee medical and adult-use cannabis access in the Constitution, according to the news outlet.
If approved, the measures seeking to change the Oklahoma Constitution would need to gather signatures from 15% of the total number of voters who casted votes in the last gubernatorial election, which amounts to 177,958 total signatures this year, NonDoc.com reported.
Advocates were given the green light to collect signatures for an adult-use legalization measure in 2020 before supporters ultimately withdrew the petition in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, however, organizers are optimistic that they can get the issue across the finish line.
“COVID hit, and it killed our last effort, but it also gave us time to work with the Legislature and others in the industry who didn’t like all of the provisions,” Michelle Tilley, one of the organizers behind SQ 820, told NonDoc.com. “We’ve seen nothing but growth and support behind the marijuana industry, and I think people realized after medical has come into place that it has the potential to be an area of economic growth in Oklahoma. And we’ve also seen a lot of reform that has happened with the current medical system. We’ve been able to chip away at some of those issues, but we have a long way to go."