Oklahoma Gov. Stitt Announces Special Cannabis Legalization Vote Following Rejection By Supreme Court

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt Announces Special Cannabis Legalization Vote Following Rejection By Supreme Court

Oklahomans recently learned they would not have the opportunity to vote on recreational marijuana this fall after the state Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit seeking to put the measure on the ballot.

However, in a special election, Oklahomans now will be able to vote on the legalization of adult-use cannabis. March 7, 2023, will be the big day, as recently announced by Governor Kevin Stitt.

"I, J. Kevin Stitt, (...) do hereby declare that State Question Number 820, Initiative Petition 434, be submitted to qualified electors of the State of Oklahoma for their approval or rejection at a special election to be held statewide on Tuesday, March 7, 2023," reads the official announcement.

If State Question 820 Becomes Law...

State Question 820, as the ballot has been baptized by the campaign, would safely legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana for adults 21, overturn cannabis convictions and enable those people affected to have their criminal records expunged.

It will generate state revenue for essential priorities, including schools, health care, and local governments as well as regulate the industry to protect public health and safety.

Michelle Tilley, campaign director for Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, said: “After all the delays, we are obviously very excited we are going to the ballot sooner rather than later (...) Everyone in Oklahoma that has supported this petition is very excited to get this across the finish line.” 

Recreational Cannabis Business Licenses

For the first two years, adult-use marijuana business licenses will be available only to businesses that have already been in operation for at least a year, reported Kosu.org.

In May, Gov. Stitt signed a measure that put the issuing of new MMJ grower, dispensary and processor licenses on a two-year hold.

The moratorium began on August 1 and runs until August 2024 or earlier if the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority’s executive director determines the agency has caught up on pending reviews, inspections and investigations.

Cannabis Activists

In July, Oklahoma cannabis activists turned in over 164,000 signatures which are far more than the approximately 95,000 they need to qualify State Question 820 for the ballot.

Stitt has said he opposes the state question. However, due to the U.S.’s “patchwork” of cannabis laws, he supports the nationwide legalization of cannabis. “Do I wish that the feds would pass legalized marijuana? Yes. I think that would solve a lot of issues from all these different states,” Stitt told the Associated Press. “But in our state, just trying to protect our state right now, I don’t think it would be good for Oklahoma.”

What's Next?

According to the Oklahoma State Election Board, the deadline to register to vote for the March 7 election is Feb. 10. The deadline to request an absentee ballot for that election is Feb. 20.

Early voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 2-3.

Photo: Courtesy Of Raychel Sanner On Unsplash

Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralGov. Kevin StittMichelle TilleyOklahomans for Sensible Marijuana LawsState Question 820


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