For a brief period of time, it was thought that Oklahoma would be voting on medical marijuana legalization on Election Day. Oklahoma officials declared that the initiative campaign had gathered enough signatures. However, legal snags prevented the initiative form making the deadline for 2016. North Dakota, Arkansas, Florida, and Montana (Montana is re-legalizing essentially) will be voting on medical marijuana. Other states came close, such as Missouri, but ultimately didn’t make the ballot.
But just because the Oklahoma medical marijuana legalization effort (organized by Oklahomans for Health) didn’t make the 2016 ballot doesn’t mean that it is gone forever. Oklahoma is still guaranteed ballot access for a future ballot, just not 2016. Per The Oklahoman:
A medical marijuana measure is assured of getting on a future statewide ballot in Oklahoma now that a 10-day period for challenging petition signatures has concluded, backers of the initiative said Friday.
Supporters gathered enough signatures to place State Question 788 before voters, but they were too late for the Nov. 8 ballot. It could be voted on in 2018.
“The more than 67,000 Oklahomans who signed the petition for medical marijuana will have their voices heard,” said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of ACLU of Oklahoma.
It would have been fantastic to see Oklahoma join Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, and Montana next month in voting on medical marijuana. A presidential election year tends to help marijuana reform initiatives because of the higher voter turnout, so it’s somewhat of a missed opportunity. But voting later is better than never voting, or having to embark on another signature gathering effort like other states now have to do that didn’t make the ballot. A delay could help Oklahoma in a way, in that after there are more reform victories on Election Day 2016, it increases the national momentum for votes that follow, including a medical marijuana vote in Oklahoma.