Marijuana ballot in Oklahoma finalized

Advocates Finalize Marijuana Ballot Initiatives in Oklahoma

Oklahoma marijuana activists have finalized the language of initiatives to legalize adult-use marijuana and remodel the state’s existing medical cannabis program they hope to place on the 2022 ballot.

Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action (ORCA) released draft versions of the proposals earlier this summer, and the group has been soliciting feedback on how best to refine the measures. After taking that input into account, the group announced last week it has arrived at the final text.

Under the recreational legalization measure, adults 21 and older would be able to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana they purchase from retailers, as well as whatever cannabis they get from growing up to 12 plants for personal use.

Marijuana sales would be subject to a 15% excise tax, and the initiative outlines a number of programs that would receive partial revenue from those taxes. The money would first cover implementation costs and then would be divided to support water-related infrastructure, people with disabilities, substance misuse treatment, law enforcement training, cannabis research and more.

The medical program, unlike most other states, does not require patients to note any specific qualifying conditions. Doctors can recommend cannabis for any condition they see fit.

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The measure also lays out pathways for resentencing and the expungement of records for those with marijuana convictions.

Oklahoma voters approved medical cannabis legalization at the ballot in 2018. The medical program, unlike most other states, does not require patients to note any specific qualifying conditions. Doctors can recommend cannabis for any condition they see fit.

But activists with ORCA want to revamp the program. The separate initiative would establish the Oklahoma State Cannabis Commission (OSCC) to oversee all areas of the medical marijuana system. It would also set a 7% excise tax on medical cannabis sales, with revenue supporting marijuana research, rural impact and urban waste remediation, agriculture development, mental health response programs, substance misuse treatment and more.

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While the measures would appear separately on the ballot if they qualify, activists view them as complementary. For instance, the adult-use measure calls for a gradual decrease of the medical marijuana tax, which would reach 0% within one year. Also, the state’s existing medical cannabis dispensaries would be permitted to sell to the recreational market two months after enactment.

Oklahoma activists attempted to qualify a legalization measure for the 2020 ballot once before, filing a petition to legalize cannabis for adult use in December 2019, but signature gathering fell short due in part to procedural delays and the Coronavirus pandemic.

Both of the newly finalized initiatives would be constitutional amendments, meaning activists will need to collect at least 177,958 valid signatures from registered voters on each to qualify them for the ballot.

Read the text of the Oklahoma adult-use and medical marijuana initiatives here

This piece is part of a content-sharing arrangement between The News Station and Marijuana Moment.

Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Los Angeles-based associate editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE, etc.

Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Los Angeles-based associate editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE, etc.

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