Early Voting Begins for State Question 820 – Decriminalizing Marijuana in Oklahoma

Oklahomans are gearing up to vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana in the Sooner State with Friday and Tuesday left to decide.[0] Early voting for State Question 820 is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3.[1] Residents don't need an excuse to vote early, but must vote in the county where they are registered.[2]

If State Question 820 is passed, marijuana would no longer be considered a criminal offense, a 15% tax would be placed on purchases, and a system for record expungement would be created.[3] Proponents of the measure argue it would provide a tax windfall for the state and “sensible” regulation regime, while opponents worry it would be bad for kids.[4]

If the initiative is passed, the law would allow individuals 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, and cultivate no more than six plants for personal use. Cannabis products will include a 15% excise tax.[5] The money would go to the Oklahoma Marijuana Revenue Trust Fund, which would fund the program, public education, and more. For those who are currently serving prison time for cannabis, they would be able to file for a petition for resentencing.[3]

Voting will be at regular voting place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7.[2] For those who requested mail-in absentee ballots, your county election board must receive those no later than 7 p.m. on election night.[1] Those who do not have ID or their names are not found in the Precinct Registry can cast a provisional ballot by signing an affidavit.[6]

If State Question 820 is approved and passed, it would bring the state more than $100 million in tax revenue annually, or about $434 million in tax revenue between 2024 and 2028.[7] A North Carolina-based social justice organization, Just Trust For Action, is the leading contributor, with $1.71 million.[8]

The outcome of the State Question 820 election does not affect the legality of medical marijuana in Oklahoma, which is already permitted.[9] Should it be accepted, the initiative would permit the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and permit residents to cultivate up to six mature plants for private use. A 15% excise tax would be imposed on cannabis products, and a Oklahoma Marijuana Revenue Trust Fund would be established to fund the program, public education, and more.

0. “Mothers weigh in on SQ 820 that could legalize recreational marijuana” KOCO Oklahoma City, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.koco.com/article/oklahoma-moms-for-820-state-question-recreational-marijuana/43169475

1. “Early voting for state question on legalizing recreational marijuana in Oklahoma starts Thursday” KOCO Oklahoma City, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.koco.com/article/oklahoma-recreational-marijuana-state-question-820-early-voting-sq820/43156805

2. “Early voting begins Thursday on whether to legalize recreational marijuana in Oklahoma” KOKI FOX 23 TULSA, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.fox23.com/news/early-voting-begins-thursday-on-whether-to-legalize-recreational-marijuana-in-oklahoma/article_b478eefc-b8f3-11ed-84b0-bf603f933a47.html

3. “Oklahoma Legalization Campaign Releases New Video To Educate Voters” High Times, 23 Feb. 2023, https://hightimes.com/news/oklahoma-legalization-campaign-releases-new-video-to-educate-voters/

4. “Oklahoma's Love Affair With Marijuana Has Faded Away” HuffPost, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/oklahoma-recreational-marijuana-referendum_n_640107b6e4b0a96d9cd2606d

5. “New Endorsement For Oklahoma Marijuana Ballot Initiative Sparks Stir In Advocacy Community” Marijuana Moment, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-endorsement-for-oklahoma-marijuana-ballot-initiative-sparks-stir-in-advocacy-community/

6. “Tulsa County Election Board offers Election Day reminders, tips” 2 News Oklahoma KJRH Tulsa, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.kjrh.com/news/local-news/tulsa-county-election-board-offers-election-day-reminders-tips

7. “As Oklahoma Early Voting Begins On Legal Marijuana Ballot Measure, Report Highlights Criminalization's Toll” Marijuana Moment, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.marijuanamoment.net/as-oklahoma-early-voting-begins-on-legal-marijuana-ballot-measure-report-highlights-criminalizations-toll

8. “Criminal justice reform efforts driving fundraising in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana” The Frontier, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.readfrontier.org/stories/reform-efforts-driving-fundraising-in-favor-of-legalizing-recreational-marijuana

9. “Remember to vote in marijuana election” Pawhuska Journal Capital, 1 Mar. 2023, https://www.pawhuskajournalcapital.com/story/news/local/2023/03/01/remember-to-vote-in-marijuana-election/69944855007

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