Oklahoma group abandons effort to legalize adult-use cannabis

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Advocates for legalizing a commercial recreational marijuana program in Oklahoma gave up their bid for November’s election because of the difficulty of collecting signatures during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have been put in a position of choosing between attempting to give Oklahomans an opportunity to adopt critical marijuana and criminal justice law reforms or protecting the health of ourselves and our fellow Oklahomans,” ballot initiative co-backer Ryan Kiesel told The Oklahoman.

The group refiled its petition last December after receiving criticism that its first effort didn’t protect existing medical cannabis operators.

Now that this initiative has been withdrawn, it’s unlikely an adult-use referendum will be on an Oklahoma ballot until 2022 at the earliest.

Oklahoma has emerged as among the most business-friendly medical marijuana state, after voters legalized a wide-open initiative in June 2018.

The recent Marijuana Business Factbook projects that Oklahoma medical cannabis sales will hit $700 million-$860 million in 2020, more than double the $345 million brought in a year ago.