Oklahoma voters will decide in less than two weeks on a citizens’ initiated measure (State Question 820) legalizing the adult-use marijuana market. If approved, Oklahoma will become the 22nd state to regulate the use and sale of cannabis for adults.
“Voters’ support for ending the failed policy of cannabis prohibition is bipartisan,” said NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “Historically, when voters are provided the choice at the ballot box, they choose legalization and regulation. This has been the outcome not only in traditionally ‘blue’ states like California and Oregon, but also in traditionally ‘red’ states like Montana and Missouri.”
Advocates for SQ 820 in July turned in nearly twice the total of signatures necessary to qualify the initiative for the 2022 ballot. However, the Secretary of State’s office took an excessive amount of time to ultimately verify proponents’ signatures. Opponents of the measure then filed a series of questionable legal challenges litigating various facets of the campaign, including challenges to the initiative’s summary language. Although justices ultimately dismissed those challenges, they did so after time had elapsed for state officials to include SQ 820 on that year’s printed ballots.
In October, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt issued the executive proclamation calling for a special election to be held on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. State Question 820 will be the only item on the ballot.
State Question 820 permits adults to legally possess and home-cultivate personal use qualities of cannabis while also establishing a licensed, retail marketplace. Those with past marijuana convictions, or those who are currently incarcerated for certain cannabis-related crimes, would be able to petition the courts for either record expungement or re-sentencing consideration.
According to a recently published economic analysis, excise taxes from retail cannabis sales could yield $434 million in new tax revenue over four years.
Oklahomans previously voted in a special election in 2018 to legalize the cultivation and dispensing of marijuana for medical purposes.