Voters in Oklahoma reject ballot initiative to legalize marijuana

Voters in Oklahoma rejected State Question 820, an initiative to legalize marijuana, on March 7. Results showed 62% voting ‘No’ on Question 820 and 38% voting ‘Yes’.

Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, the campaign behind the initiative, wanted the issue on the general election ballot in 2022. However, due to delays in signature verification and the ballot printing deadline, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) called the March 7 special election for the measure.

State Question 820 would have legalized marijuana for adults 21 years old and older. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority would have been responsible for marijuana business licensing and regulations. Individuals would have been allowed to possess, transport, and distribute up to one ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana, eight grams of marijuana in a concentrated form, or eight grams or less of concentrated marijuana in marijuana-infused products. Marijuana sales would have been taxed at 15%. Under the initiative, individuals could have possessed up to six mature marijuana plants and up to six seedlings. The initiative would have also provided a process for individuals to seek the expungement or modification of certain previous marijuana-related convictions or sentences.

As of Feb. 2023, 21 states and Washington, D.C., had legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

  • In 12 states and D.C., the ballot initiative process was used to legalize marijuana.
  • In two states, the legislature referred a measure to the ballot for voter approval.
  • In seven states, bills to legalize marijuana were enacted into law.

In 2022, five states decided on marijuana legalization ballot measures. In the central U.S., voters in Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota considered citizen-initiated measures to legalize marijuana. In Missouri, the initiative was approved. In Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota, the measures were defeated. In Maryland, the state Legislature voted to put the issue before voters, who approved the measure.

Marijuana legalization initiatives targeting the 2024 ballot have been filed in Wyoming, Florida, and Nebraska.