A statewide ballot scheduled on November 8, 2022, could change the marijuana policies in Oklahoma if a simple majority of the voters approve the Oklahoma State Question 820, Marijuana Legalization Initiative.
Among other things, the initiative seeks to make marijuana legal for persons aged 21 years and older. The proposition addresses the possession and purchase of marijuana for personal use and taxation consequences.
Organizers of the Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws (OSML) campaign submitted over 160,000 signatures to the secretary of state’s office, surpassing the 94,911 signatures required by the law. The Secretary of State recently confirmed the verification of more than 117,000 signatures from the OSML.
Proponents of Question 820 recommend new laws known as the Adult Use Marijuana Regulation Act. The legalization initiative seeks to make the following acts lawful in the state:
The possession and purchase of not more than an ounce of marijuana, or at most 8 grams in plain concentrated form/marijuana products for personal use.
Cultivation of a maximum of six marijuana plants in a private residence and not more than 12 marijuana plants together on the premises of such residence.
Manufacture and sale of marijuana accessories.
Authorized transportation of a maximum of six marijuana plants
Approval of the proposition will also benefit Oklahomans currently incarcerated for such marijuana offenses. The proposed policies will allow them to petition for resentencing or dismissal of the conviction. Individuals can also apply to end their probation for such conviction and petition requests for an expungement of marijuana-related offenses from their background history.
Oklahoma became the 30th state in the United States to approve medical marijuana use in 2018. Although many consider the medical marijuana program accessible, there are still some standard procedures like presenting an identifying card and prescription by an authorized physician. The approval of Question 820 will allow the use of marijuana for adults aged 21 or older without providing any identifying information or license.
Notwithstanding the proposed marijuana act, the initiative does change existing laws prohibiting smoking marijuana in a public place or possession/consumption in any educational institution. The laws will also not prevent employers from enforcing different marijuana policies in the workplace. Likewise, property owners can regulate or ban marijuana use from their residences.
Under current Oklahoma laws, individuals caught in possession of any amount of marijuana face a year of incarceration. A conviction for the sale or distribution of marijuana carries two years to a lifetime imprisonment penalty. However, the marijuana initiative recommends alternative punishments, including fines and drug education classes, for violating the proposed marijuana policies.
The approval of Question 820 will introduce a 15% tax on the sale of marijuana. However, this will only apply to adult-use marijuana dispensaries. The sale of medical marijuana to eligible individuals will not be taxed at the 15% rate.
Oklahoma’s Question 820, Marijuana Legalization Initiative, will likely be placed on the November ballot. Advocates of the new marijuana policies expect a large voter turnout, similar to the medical marijuana ballot in 2018. There are also hopes that the majority of the voters will support the initiative at the poll.