Marijuana petition to get state constitutional question on ballot surpasses required signature threshold

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An activist group that has sought to get a constitutional state question regarding recreational marijuana placed on the November ballot appears to have scored a major victory in that push.

Green The Vote announced Sunday that it has compiled enough signatures — 132,527, to be exact — for State Question 797 to be put up for vote on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. The measure would incorporate the right to recreational marijuana in the Oklahoma Constitution.

The group needed at least 124,000 signatures by the Aug. 8 deadline for the petition. Signatures have to be verified by the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s Office, and a review must be conducted before the question can go on the ballot.

“We always knew we were going to hit the 124,000,” Green The Vote leader Isaac Caviness told the Tulsa World on Sunday.

A constitutional petition could make marijuana legal for citizens 21 and older and allow for commercial entities to set up a recreational marijuana industry within the state.

Adults could also possess or consume up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use, with some $40 million from sales going toward the public school construction assistance fund, according to the petition’s language.

It also could mean that patients or recreational users would be allowed to transfer up to an ounce for either a medically licensed patient or to an adult at least 21 years old for recreational use.

The group, Caviness said, is not done gathering signatures for SQ 797 just yet, as it wants to get a total of 150,000 to ensure it has enough when they go through the verification process.

“We want to make sure we have more than enough signatures to cover any kind of signatures that might get thrown out,” he said. A lot of people are going to ask ‘Why don’t you turn them in today?’ The answer to that is we want to make sure we have more signatures for any we might lose during the verification process.”

As of Sunday afternoon, the group had also secured 115,123 signatures for State Question 796, which would amend the state’s constitution to categorize marijuana as a medicinal drug. If made into law, it would allow usage for patients who meet qualifying conditions for chronic illnesses and disorders.

How quickly the signatures were gathered well before the deadline signified the intense support the public has for unrestricted marijuana usage, both recreationally and medicinally, Caviness said.

“Oklahoma has seen what recreational use of cannabis can do for other state economies,” said Caviness. “They want to see that happen here in Oklahoma. The voters of Oklahoma who overwhelmingly voted for (State Question) 788 wanted to send a message to our lawmakers that we know exactly what we’re voting for and we know what it will do for our state’s economy.”

Gov. Mary Fallin has until Aug. 27 to get any measures on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Under state law, an election cannot be held fewer than 70 days after it is called by the governor, said Bryan Dean, Oklahoma State Election Board spokesman.

The normal process for getting a state question on the ballot after the governor has received it, excluding a challenge, takes about 60 days, Oklahoma Secretary of State James Williamson said last week.

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