For a brief time during the 2016 election cycle it was thought that Oklahoma would be joining Florida, Arkansas, and North Dakota in voting to legalize medical cannabis (also Montana, which was voting to restore its medical cannabis program). Unfortunately that was not the case due to a legal battle over the title of the medical cannabis initiative. Below is a recap, via The Cannabist:
The original wording of the ballot title developed by its supporters makes clear that a yes vote legalizes the licensed use, sale and growth of marijuana for medicinal purposes and must be approved by a physician. Pruitt’s version begins with the line: “This measure legalizes the licensed use, sale and growth of marijuana in Oklahoma. There are no qualifying medical conditions identified.”
The rewrite was done by then Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, the same Scott Pruitt who is now the head of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Trump administration. It’s also the same Scott Pruitt who asked the United States Supreme Court to nullify Colorado’s legalization law (the Supreme Court rejected that challenge). The attempted rewrite was clearly misleading, which was obviously intentional. Fortunately, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the medical marijuana campaign today and the initiative will finally proceed. Per News OK:
The Oklahoma Supreme Court has tossed former Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s rewrite of the title on a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana.
Voters in Oklahoma now could get the chance to vote on State Question 788. The measure most likely would appear on the November 2018 gubernatorial ballot, but a special election also could be held. Gov. Mary Fallin will have to set an election date.
I don’t know what the odds are of a special election occurring, but it’s good to know that Oklahoma voters will finally get a chance to vote on medical marijuana. Possession of any amount of marijuana in Oklahoma is punishable by up to a year in jail, and up to ten years in jail for a subsequent offense, even if it’s just a personal amount of marijuana.