Oklahoma adult-use marijuana legalization one step closer to ballot

A proposed measure in Oklahoma to legalize adult-use marijuana is one step closer to making the November ballot after the secretary of state certified that backers had gathered enough signatures to qualify.

However, the Tulsa World reported, voters still might not get to weigh in on State Question 820.

That’s because, to be put on the ballot, the recreational marijuana proposal must withstand several hurdles:

  • A 10-day “protest period” that all initiatives face before being placed on the general election ballot. The 10-day period will begin as soon as the Oklahoma secretary of state publishes a notice about the measure.
  • The publication of a public notice awaits a thumbs-up from the state Supreme Court, which must rule on whether the measure can be put on the Nov. 8 ballot. If the high court doesn’t agree, the measure might not go before voters until November 2023, Tulsa radio station KRMG reported.
  • Oklahoma’s Election Board must get the green light from the Supreme Court and the secretary of state by Aug. 26 in order to have ballots printed in time for the election, and that also is uncertain, according to the Tulsa World and KRMG.

Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws – which is running the Yes on 820 campaign – also accused the secretary of state’s office of dragging its feet when it came to verifying the signatures the campaign submitted in July.

The campaign turned in 164,000 signatures, although only 94,111 were needed for the initiative to be valid, and eventually at least 117,257 were deemed eligible, the Tulsa World reported.

But while signature-counting typically is only a two- to three-week process, the verification for the adult-use ballot measure took seven weeks, the campaign complained in a court filing.

Two other groups seeking to get adult-use legalization on the Oklahoma ballot have effectively suspended their campaigns, the Tulsa World reported.