Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly reject State Question 820
By John Dobberstein, Editor
Oklahoma voters said “no” to legalizing recreational marijuana for adults by a wide margin Tuesday, handing the out-of-state drug legalization lobby a resounding defeat on State Question 820.
“No” votes totaled 62% night, vs. 38% who voted “yes” for the measure. Support for the proposal was highest in Oklahoma, Cleveland and Tulsa counties, but most suburban and rural areas were strongly opposed. The statewide turnout was estimated at 25%.
This stands in contrast to SQ788, a measure to legalize medical marijuana that passed in 2018 with 56% of the vote.
“I’m proud of Oklahomans for rejecting the expansion of organized crime by defeating State Question 820,” said Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond. “Regardless of where one stands on the question of marijuana legalization, the stark reality is that organized crime from China and Mexico has infiltrated Oklahoma's medical marijuana industry. I will continue to focus on this serious threat to public safety by targeting the illegal grow operations throughout our state.”
“I believe this is the best thing to keep our kids safe and for our state as a whole,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt in a statement. “Oklahoma is a law-and-order state. I remain committed to protecting Oklahomans and my administration will continue to hold bad actors accountable and crack down on illegal marijuana operations in our state.”
SQ820 would have legalized adult-use recreational marijuana in Oklahoma. Adults over the age of 21 years old would have been able to purchase marijuana products for recreational use from licensed sellers. SQ820 would have also allowed individuals to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, 6 mature marijuana plants, and 6 seedling plants.
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The state question also created a licensing process for recreational marijuana dispensaries, commercial growers, processors, and transporters, and it directed the state to create rules for the preparation and labeling of marijuana products within 90 days after becoming law.
The state would have imposed a 15% excise tax on each sale, with surplus revenue going to student services, drug addiction treatment programs, courts, local government, and the state General Revenue Fund.
Private landowners and businesses would have been allowed to prohibit or regulate the use of marijuana on their property or during the course of employment. SQ820 would not have changed current medical marijuana laws and regulations.
The proposed law would have also created a pathway for courts to resentence, reverse, modify and expunge certain prior marijuana-related conviction records. It also prohibits prosecutors from revoking bail, parole, or probation because of marijuana use.