Oklahoma Falls Short on Cannabis Legalization Initiative

Efforts to get a state-wide ballot measure to allow Oklahomans to decide on legalizing cannabis has failed. Leland Rucker, senior editor at Sensi Magazine, joins us to take a look at what that means for our neighboring state.

Oklahoma State Question 797, which would have put an adult-use marijuana initiative on the ballot in November, fell short of the signatures needed, according to the Oklahoma Secretary of State. The initiative required 123,725 signatures to be put on the ballot. (That’s 15 percent of 824,831, the total number of ballots cast in the 2014 gubernatorial election.) The secretary of state’s office counted 102,814 signatures.

The signatures were sent to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which will make a final determination. Another initiative petition, State Question 796, which sought to put medical marijuana in the Oklahoma constitution, also fell short on signatures, a total of 95,176 signatures, well short of the 123,725 needed.

Green The Vote, the group behind the petition, announced in July that it had received more than enough signatures. Back then, the group announced that it has compiled more than 130,000 signatures. “We always knew we were going to hit the 124,000,” a Green The Vote spokesperson told the Tulsa World. But they didn’t.

The group says it decided to fudge the numbers to inspire other voters to come out and sign the petition. However, she says as other organizers inflated the numbers, the signature count never caught up. Green the Vote organizers worked overtime near the end, but weren’t able to come up with the signatures. Warning to others trying this tactic. Don’t!

The petition would have been similar to Amendment 64, and would have allowed adults over 21 to buy cannabis, possess up to two ounces for personal use, and the first $40 million in taxes from sales going toward the public school construction assistance fund.

This comes on the heels of a state that voted in July to approve medical marijuana that was passed by 57 percent of voters after then attorney general Scott Pruitt tried to block it. Gov. Mary Fallin warned back then that it was a prelude to legal cannabis for all adults, and she was right. Expect this one to return, although Fallin won’t. she’s at the end of her term.