Oklahoma Voters Reject Leisure Pot Legalization Initiative


Voters in Oklahoma on Tuesday rejected a poll measure that might have legalized leisure marijuana within the state that already has one of many nation’s most strong medical marijuana packages. Supporters of State Query 820, nonetheless, vow to proceed the hassle to legalize hashish for adults in Oklahoma.

“Our mission from the very begin has been about making a extra affluent, simply and safer state,” Sure on 820 marketing campaign director Michelle Tilley stated in an announcement after the outcomes of Tuesday’s election grew to become obvious. “We’re mothers and dads who need extra income in our colleges, extra sources for legislation enforcement, and extra jobs and funding in communities throughout the state. Sadly, tonight we fell quick.”

Oklahoma voters defeated the legalization initiative by a strong margin, with practically 62% opposed and solely 38% voting in favor as of Wednesday morning, with greater than 95% of votes counted in all 77 of the state’s counties, according to information from The New York Instances. The defeat got here following robust opposition from legislation enforcement teams and Republican politicians together with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. 

Oklahoma Supporters Vow To Proceed Legalization Effort

Supporters of SQ 820 had initially deliberate for the poll measure to look earlier than voters throughout final 12 months’s presidential election, however delays in certifying the measure prevented the initiative from being included on the poll in November. In October, Stitt introduced that voters would go to the polls on March 7 for a particular election to vote on the measure.

Brian Vicente, founding associate on the hashish legislation agency Vicente LLP and a member of the Sure on 820 marketing campaign’s steering committee, stated that the failure of the poll measure to achieve approval on the polls on Tuesday just isn’t the top of hashish coverage reform efforts in Oklahoma, the place voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018.

“With a March particular election and no different points on the poll, we knew from the start this is able to be an uphill battle,” Vicente wrote in an e-mail to Excessive Instances. “The outcomes nonetheless show there may be vital assist for legalizing and regulating hashish for grownup use, and we anticipate it to proceed rising till an identical measure passes within the close to future. Overcoming a century of anti-marijuana propaganda is not any easy activity, and there may be nonetheless work to be achieved.”

Had it handed, SQ 820 would have legalized hashish for adults 21 and older and established a regulatory framework for industrial manufacturing and gross sales of leisure marijuana. The measure additionally included provisions to permit these with previous convictions for some marijuana offenses to petition the courts to have their prison document expunged. Sure on 820 marketing campaign senior advisor Ryan Kiesel, who helped draft the poll language, stated that the defeat of the measure will proceed Oklahoma’s disproportionate enforcement of marijuana prohibition.

“We’ve 1000’s of households being torn aside and thrown into chaos yearly as a result of a mother or a dad has a small quantity of marijuana that might be authorized in 21 different states and authorized in Oklahoma for medical card holders,” stated Kiesel. “Moreover, the enforcement of Oklahoma’s marijuana legal guidelines has traditionally been deeply slanted towards Black Oklahomans, who’re more likely to be arrested than their White counterparts. We should proceed to work to finish these unjust and wasteful arrests and to present individuals who do have arrests or convictions on their information the instruments to hunt expungement and begin with a clear slate.”

Jeffrey M. Zucker, co-founder and president of hashish consulting agency Inexperienced Lion Companions and the vice chair of the board of administrators of the Marijuana Coverage Venture (MPP), promised extra work to finish hashish prohibition within the Sooner State.

“At this time’s resolution in Oklahoma is heartbreaking, particularly contemplating what number of challenges this invoice confronted earlier than it bought to the poll and the way a lot work advocates put in,” Zucker stated in an announcement. “We’ve a protracted option to go to undo the injury of the warfare on medicine, particularly in a state the place greater than 4500 individuals are arrested yearly for hashish possession.”

Tuesday’s defeat of SQ 820 continues a string of setbacks for the hashish coverage reform motion in historically conservative states. Within the November basic election, voters in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota voted towards leisure marijuana poll measures, whereas related proposals succeeded in Maryland and Missouri.

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