While much of the nation has turned a blind eye to a modest signature-collecting campaign in Oklahoma working to legalize a statewide medical marijuana program, it was revealed earlier this week that the group behind the proposal has managed to collect gain enough support from the voters to earn a spot on the ballot in the upcoming November election.
Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge announced on Tuesday that supporters of a proposed medical marijuana ballot initiative secured more than enough signatures to move on to the next phase of its campaign. Reports show that Oklahomans for Health needed at least 65,987 signatures to pass through the state’s election gatekeeper. However, the word from Benge’s office is that the group certified almost 2,000 more than the state requirement.
But before the ballot measure can be officially permitted to go before the voters later this fall, it must endure an extensive vetting process at the hands of state officials and convince the Oklahoma Supreme Court that the signature count is adequate enough to be deemed ballot worthy.
“As required by law, the secretary of state’s office will send a report on its findings to the Oklahoma Supreme Court,” the Secretary of State’s office said in a press release. “The state Supreme Court determines whether the number of signatures counted is sufficient for the proposal to be placed on an election ballot.”
At this point, it is now up to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, one of the culprits involved in the 2015 lawsuit against Colorado’s legal pot market, to review the ballot title to ensure it properly expresses the nature of the issue.
“If the proposed title is found noncompliant, the attorney general has 10 business days to submit a rewritten ballot title,” the release said. “The next step will be notification to the press to announce publicly that any member of the public can, within 10 business days, challenge the signatures and/or the proposed ballot title. When the measure has cleared all legal hurdles, it can qualify to be placed on a ballot for a vote of the people.”
It was believed earlier this month, just days before the deadline, that Oklahomans for Health was destined to fail, but a raucous last-ditch push to pull together enough signatures ultimately paid off in the end. Now, as long as the initiative can survive the extra hurdles it faces with the Supreme Court, voters will get to decide on the whether the state should legalize medical marijuana.
If approved, patients (at least 25-year of age) suffering from various conditions will be permitted to maintain possession of three ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.