Oklahoma voters reject legalization for recreational marijuana

by ian

Ian Patrick, FISM News

Oklahoma voters made their voices heard on Tuesday by shutting down a ballot question that would have attempted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in the state.

Question 820, otherwise known as the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, was offered to Oklahoma voters while at the polls. According to the preliminary results posted by Ballotpedia, almost 62% of voters opted against the initiative while just over 38% supported it.

If it had passed, the question on the ballot would have legalized marijuana in the state for people 21 and over. Individuals would have been allowed to possess one ounce of the drug as well as up to six mature marijuana plants for personal consumption.

Reports suggest the question also aimed to put a 15% sales tax on all products related to recreational marijuana. The tax revenue would have been provided to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and its implementation of the new rule.

Other revenue would have been used in a general fund, in education grants, and for programs aimed at addiction treatment. The rule also would have provided a process for individuals to modify or expunge marijuana-related convictions.

Currently, marijuana in Oklahoma is legal only as a medical treatment which requires a doctor’s prescription.


Once news of the rejection had spread, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt released a statement in which he said it “is the best thing to keep our kids safe and for our state as a whole.”

“Oklahoma is a law and order state,” Stitt continued. “I remain committed to protecting Oklahomans and my administration will continue to hold bad actors accountable and crack down on illegal marijuana operations in our state.”

Pat McFerron, a campaign advisor for the No 820 campaign, was reportedly pleased with the vote. According to USA Today, McFerron said, “We think this sends a clear message that Oklahomans oppose the unfettered access to marijuana we have experienced under our so-called medical program.”

McFerron added that this vote signifies that the residents of Oklahoma “clearly want to protect our children, crack down on organized crime, and improve the mental health of those in our state.”

Those who oppose the law, including former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, expressed concern that more legalized marijuana would encourage what they describe as a problem that has “overrun” the state.

Others expressed concerns about people using the drug around children, which could lead to an increase in overdosing for the younger crowd.


Those in favor of the legislation prefer to claim that the question wasn’t just about legalizing the drug. In the words of Yes on 820 senior campaign adviser Ryan Kiesel, the question was more “about keeping Oklahomans out of the criminal justice system.”

Another proponent of the question told Marijuana Moment that the question aims “to regulate the production, testing, and sale of cannabis products for adults, aged 21 and older in Oklahoma through an accountable system that ensures the highest safety and health standards.”

It appears as though the fight to decriminalize the drug in Oklahoma will continue, at least according to Kiesel.

“The other thing to keep in mind is that this is not the end of the effort to end prohibition in the state of Oklahoma,” Kiesel said. “This is halftime.”