OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Plans to fully legalize marijuana can proceed to collect signatures, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled, clearing the way for two more cannabis projects seeking approval from voters.
The High Court’s ruling on Tuesday night comes amid a marijuana boom in the state earlier after voters in 2018 approved the most liberal medical marijuana scheme in the United States. Nearly 10% of Oklahoma’s 4 million people have qualified for a medical card, by far the highest. percentage in the country.
Proponents of the two separate proposals have yet to collect enough signatures to put the plans on voters’ ballots. The plans approved Tuesday, State Question 819 and a supplemental State Question 818, would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to protect the right of residents age 21 and older to use marijuana. It’s part of a national campaign to legalize the recreational use of cannabis for adults, which 18 states and the District of Columbia have already approved.
Because both proposals seek to amend the constitution, supporters will need to collect more signatures, about 178,000 in 90 days, to qualify for the ballot.
“Whether we’ll make it to the November ballot this year remains to be seen,” said Jed Green, a longtime Oklahoma cannabis activist behind the plans. “We’re going to push, push and push to do it, and hopefully we will, but…we’ll get our signatures.”
A separate proposal for adult use, State Question 820, has already been approved by the High Court and, as it would only change state law, requires only about 95,000 signatures. Proponents of this plan can begin collecting signatures on May 3.
Proponents of both proposals say producers of Oklahoma’s booming cannabis industry have their eye on Texas, the nation’s largest banned state with 29 million people. New Mexico, which borders both Oklahoma and Texas, has already legalized adult use and surpassed $2 million in sales on its first day of sales earlier this month.
“We’ve seen the success the tribes have had with casinos along the Texas border,” said Michelle Tilley, an organizer behind SQ 820. “There’s already a national market.”