Recreational marijuana initiative in Oklahoma unlikely to make November ballot

Oklahoma state officials said this week that two marijuana initiatives, including one to legalize recreational cannabis, probably do not have enough time to make the November election ballot.

Here are the basics of the situation:

  • The deadline for submitting signatures is Aug. 8.
  • Gov. Mary Fallin must sign off by Aug. 27 to put the measure on the ballot, and that likely won’t be possible if, as expected, the measures are challenged, an official told the Tulsa World.
  • State law allows challenges to initiatives to go to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and “if a protest is filed, it is virtually impossible (to make the deadline),” said Secretary of State James Williamson.

One petition being circulated asks voters to legalize adult-use marijuana, while another would legalize medical cannabis as a constitutional amendment.

Oklahoma voters approved a wide-open medical marijuana measure June 26. However, the measure is a statutory amendment, which is easier for  lawmakers to change than is a constitutional amendment.

Meanwhile, New Health Solutions Oklahoma, which supported the June 26 initiative, announced a 275-page model bill to create MMJ industry regulations, The Oklahoman reported Tuesday. The bill, for example, would allow the sale of smokable marijuana.

The Board of Health recently adopted emergency rules that banned the sale of smokable marijuana and had other restrictive provisions, but the state attorney general ruled the board overstepped its authority.

The emergency rules are expected to be revised later this summer.

In addition, a working group of lawmakers plans to hold public hearings in advance of the Legislature considering permanent regulations.

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