Oklahoma voters could be making history next month if they pass a legalization ballot for adult-use cannabis. In preparation for this, advocates have begun to increase their efforts to educate residents and boost awareness with a new internet and TV ad campaign.
“Get the facts about State Question 820. The law will regulate and tax marijuana for adults 21 and up,” the new Yes on 820 video states. “It has strict safety requirements for labeling, childproof packaging, and quantity limits to keep us and our kids safe. Plus, it will generate millions for schools and health care, and free up police resources to focus on serious violent crime to make our communities safer. It’s working in other states. It’s time for Oklahoma.”
State Question 820 is the only question on the ballot, and volunteers with Yes on 820 have been out spreading the word. “Shoutout to our awesome volunteers for a huge Saturday canvass! We’re knocking on doors all across our great state reminding folks to vote YES on #SQ820 on March 7, 2023. #YesOn820 #LegalizeIt #Oklahoma #OKC #Tulsa #Norman #Lawton #Stillwater #Edmond #Vote #Election,” the campaign wrote on its Twitter page on Feb. 18. Another post shared the perseverance of volunteers. “Our volunteers knock doors through rain, snow, and injury.”
Campaign Director Michelle Tilley wrote an opinion article for Tulsa World explaining her personal motivation for supporting cannabis legalization, and why others should vote for it as well. “I am a lifelong Oklahoman and a mom of teenaged children. I want my kids to come of age in a prosperous state with good jobs, safe communities and adequately funded state services,” Tilley wrote. “I want to retire here, close to them. For all those reasons I have spent the last 14 months leading the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Oklahoma.”
Tilley continued to explain how legalizing cannabis can improve public safety and protect children across the state. “As a mother, I don’t want my children using marijuana. As someone who remembers being a teenager, I also don’t want my kids—or any kids—to have their lives permanently altered if they make a mistake,” Tilley continued. “A criminal arrest for having a small amount of marijuana can make it hard to go to college or get a job.”
“I want Oklahoma kids to thrive in safe, vibrant communities,” Tilley concluded. “Despite what our opposition says, there is no evidence that legalizing recreational marijuana will harm any children anywhere.”
Originally the legalization initiative was supposed to be on the ballot in November 2022. Advocates collected more than enough signatures, but the initiative wasn’t approved in time. The Oklahoma Supreme Court denied the petition in September 2022. In October, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that he would be placing State Question 820 on the ballot for a special election to be held on March 7.
If passed, the initiative would legalize possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, and allow residents to grow up to six mature plants for personal use. Cannabis products would include a 15% excise tax, and the law would create an Oklahoma Marijuana Revenue Trust Fund, which would fund the program, public education, and more. Any residents who are currently serving prison time for cannabis would be able to file for a petition for resentencing, and those who have already served their sentence would be able to apply for expungement.
Yes on 820 recently released a report, produced by Vicente Sederberg LLP and the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association, which projects that if Oklahoma legalizes adult-use cannabis, it could potentially collect up to $821 million in combined medical and recreational cannabis tax revenue.
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