There may be one more state joining the list of states with the opportunity to legalize medical marijuana this November as Oklahoma has turned in what should be more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. A group who has been petitioning since May recently wrapped things up and turned in their signatures to the Secretary of State. They needed a minimum of 65,987 signatures in order to qualify – Secretary of State Chris Benge has determined that they have turned in 67,761 which should be over 2,000 more than they needed.
Unfortunately, things work a little bit different in the state of Oklahoma – just having the confirmed signatures is not enough alone. From here, the initiative and a report from the Secretary of State will be sent to the Supreme Court who will determine if the number of collected signatures is sufficient or not. If they are found to be enough (which they should be) the initiative will then go to the Attorney General for the title to be reviewed.
The Attorney General only gets five business days to look over the initiative – at that point if he has a complaint with the title then he has 10 business days to come up with an alternative title. If no complaints are found then there will be a public announcement allowing 10 business days for the public to challenge either the title or the signatures. If that period goes by without any challenges then the initiative will have officially qualified for the November 8th ballot.
Not only is this a lengthy qualification process, but this is also the only state I’ve seen so far that allows a specific time period for the public to file complaints against an initiative – in most recent cases that has been used as a delaying tactic by those who are opposing initiatives. There are already seven other “questions” on the ballot in Oklahoma this fall – so perhaps that is a good sign that this initiative will go through with relatively no issue. If all goes well, we will know in about 15 days or so whether or not State Question 788 will appear on the ballot.
This will bring our record breaking number of state voting on marijuana issues up one more from 9 to 10. Even twenty years ago when California first legalized medical marijuana, most states were thinking we would never get this far. Half of these states are looking to legalize adult use and half are preparing to join the medical marijuana industry – and hopefully Oklahoma will get the chance to vote on the issue this year as well.