Oklahoma marijuana activists hopeful SQ 820 will be on November ballot
A change in how signatures for state questions are verified is causing major delays for the long-awaited ballot measure proposed to legalize recreational marijuana in Oklahoma.
Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws are hopeful the state supreme court will approve State Question 820 for the November 8th ballot.
SQ 820 would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years old and older and would allow people to possess up to one ounce of cannabis. The measure would also provide the state with the opportunity expunge the criminal records of those with marijuana-related convictions.
Michelle Tilley, the campaign director for SQ 820, said her organization was assured multiple times by Oklahoma's Secretary of State that everything would be turned in on time for the general election.
However, after the secretary of state submitted a report last Monday, Tilley said organizers quickly realized they wouldn't make the printing deadline on Friday, August 26.
"So, we asked the Oklahoma State Supreme Court to ask the the election board secretary to go ahead and prepare SQ820 for printing while we finish up the process that still has to be finished up to get the official certification from the supreme court," Tilley explained.
The last petition Oklahoman's voted for was on Medicaid expansion that featured over 313,000 signatures and took only 17 days to count.
While OSML submitted half of the amount of signatures, Tilley said it took the state over 48 days to certify.
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued an order assuming jurisdiction to decide if the state question will appear on the November 2022 ballot.
Tilley says now, the measure has to make it through the 10-day publication period before Court Justices will approve it for the general election.
"We've done what we've had to do, we've really really worked hard," Tilley said. "We even turned in our signatures in 30 days early. We've done everything to try and make these deadlines, and it's hard. We're playing by the rules and then the rules change, so."
It's not yet sure if SQ820 will make it on to the November ballot, but Tilley said Oklahomans will vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana sooner or later.