The governor of Oklahoma has officially called for a special election in March 2023 for voters to decide on marijuana legalization.
Activists had pushed to place the cannabis reform measure on next month’s ballot, but it faced obstacles in the state Supreme Court after complaints were filed and procedural deadlines passed.
Now Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued a proclamation on Tuesday stipulating that the initiative from Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws (OSML) and Yes on 820 will go before voters during a special election on March 7, 2023.
On the one hand, this is a welcome development for advocates, as the court action could have meant that legalization wouldn’t have been decided until the next general election in November 2024 without a special election being called. That would have meant another two years of arrests of people for adult-use marijuana in the state.
On the other hand, putting the initiative on a special off-year ballot raises some concerns about lower and potentially more conservative voter turnout compared to a general election—especially for 2024 when the presidency will be decided.
That being said, Oklahoma voters did handily approve a medical marijuana legalization measure during a June primary election in 2018. Full Story