Earlier in December, a group of activists in Oklahoma filed a petition to legalize recreational marijuana. The initiative was filed suddenly, without warning to other groups that might have wanted to be involved in such a venture. After hearing of concerns over the ballot initiative’s language and how the new law could affect the current medical marijuana program, Michelle Tilley and Ryan Kiesel pulled State Question 806 and submitted revised language, resulting in State Question 807, which is now pending signature gathering approval.
“The new ballot initiative strengthens the language of the previously filed initiative to ensure that we are crystal clear that this program does not adversely affect the current Oklahoma medical marijuana industry or its patients,” campaign spokesperson Michelle Tilley said in a press release.
The measure is backed by various local reform organizations, as well as the national group New Approach PAC. After careful revisions, the measure now includes very specific protections – and benefits – for the medical marijuana businesses and patients that already exist. For the first two years after the law goes into effect, it would give medical marijuana businesses the exclusive right to recreational licenses.
“While we did not foresee any issues with our original language, we are strong supporters of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana programs and we felt it was worthwhile to eliminate any uncertainty.”
Aside from amending the initiative to include language specific to protecting the existing medical industry, little has changed. The bill will still legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older, allowing for the possession of up to an ounce and the right to cultivate up to six mature plants and six seedlings at once. The excise tax expected is still 15 percent – specifying that it would not apply to medical marijuana – with revenue going toward implementation costs, public schools, drug treatment programs and other public services.
The activists working on the petition seem confident in their ability to gather the needed 178,000 signatures within the allotted 90-day window once they receive approval from the Secretary of State. This was not the only petition filed recently, though it does appear to be the one with the best shot at reaching the needed number of signatures in time. If they can meet that goal, then there does seem to be potential for enough support from voters to see adult-use legalization passing only 2 short years after voters legalized medical marijuana.