Historically a state with severe and excessive marijuana laws, Oklahoma has finally made its voice heard through a petition for medical marijuana. Oklahoma Secretary of State, Chris Benge, announced yesterday that his office finished counting the signatures on Initiative Petition 412 — great news for Oklahoma patients — in just 90 days the petition exceeded the 65,987 signatures required to put the issue on an election ballot!
However, a few more hurdles remain before this issue officially makes the ballot. The report is now en route to the Oklahoma Supreme Court which will determine whether 67,761 signatures (roughly 8% of total registered voters in Oklahoma) is enough to put the question to a vote in November.
Once the proposal reaches Oklahoma’s Supreme Court, the attorney general has five days to review the initiative and either approve or adjust the ballot title. A news release out of the Sooner State explains that after the proposal passes through the state’s Supreme Court, the next step will be opening the initiative up to public opinion where, “Any member of the public can, within ten business days, challenge the signatures and/or the proposed ballot title.”
If approved, this proposal would allow state-issued medical marijuana cards similar to those of California and other medical states. Upon receiving an MMJ license, patients would be able to possess up to three ounces of cannabis flower along with six mature plants and six seedlings. The state tax on medical marijuana sales would be 7% — tax revenues would help fund the regulation of the industry as well as drug/alcohol rehabilitation.
Advocates of the proposal are hoping that the state will not drag its feet through the legal process so that the initiative has an opportunity to appear on the voting ballot this coming November under “State Question 788.” If it does not qualify for November’s ballot, the state may hold it for the 2018 general election or conduct a special election just for the medical marijuana proposal — a special special election could cost upwards of $1.2 million. Joe Dorman, an advocate for this medical marijuana proposal and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said, “We’re keeping our fingers crossed that everything will proceed expeditiously through the process.” Advocates for the bill are waiting anxiously for an announcement from Gov. Mary Fallin (R) declaring her support for the initiative. If announced by this Friday, Question 788 will definitely make an appearance on the November ballot.
If you are an Oklahoma registered voter and supporter of medical marijuana here are a few resources to help you get involved: Oklahomans For Health, Norml Oklahoma, and Oklahoma Compassionate Care Campaign.