(DCWatchdog.com) – The voters of Oklahoma have killed off the legalization of recreational marijuana by a large margin, with all its 77 counties voting against the proposed policy.
The motion entitled State Question 820 was defeated in a state-wide vote on Tuesday, with 61.7% voting against (nearly 350,000 votes) and 38.3% voting in favor (almost 217,000 votes), USA Today reported.
If its voters had approved the new marijuana legalization bill, Oklahoma would have become the 22nd state in the nation to support full-fledged adult use of cannabis.
Oklahoma thus joined other conservative states that rejected legal recreational marijuana last year – Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Some conservative states, however, such as Missouri and Montana, have legalized recreational marijuana use.
Oklahoma’s voters overwhelmingly rejected the total legalization of cannabis “following a late blitz of opposition from faith leaders, law enforcement, and prosecutors,” Newsmax reported.
State Question 820 was opposed by the state’s Republican Governor, Kevin Stitt, almost every GOP state senator, and many GOP state representatives.
Former Republican Governor Frank Keating, an ex-FBI agent, and Terri White, former head of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, spearheaded the “no” campaign.
“We’re pleased the voters have spoken,” commented Pat McFerron, a Republican political strategist in charge of the “no” campaign.
“We think this sends a clear signal that voters are not happy with the recreational nature of our medicinal system. We also think it shows voters recognize the criminal aspects, as well as the need for addressing mental health needs of the state,” he added.
The report points out that the “yes” campaign was defeated even though it had outspent its opponents by more than 20 to 1, with nearly $5 million vs. $219,000 in campaign spending, respectively.
State Question 820 was the only item in Tuesday’s vote in Oklahoma. The bill was initiated with a signature-gathering drive last year.
“Oklahoma is a law and order state,” Governor Stitt declared in a statement after the vote.
“I remain committed to protecting Oklahomans and my administration will continue to hold bad actors accountable and crack down on illegal marijuana operations in our state,” he added.
State Question 820 allowed any person in Oklahoma over 21 to buy and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana as well as concentrates and marijuana-infused products.
It also stipulated a 15% excise tax for recreational cannabis sales on top of the standard sales tax.
In a 2018 vote, Oklahoma’s residents approved medical marijuana by 14 percentage points, resulting in the state having one of America’s “most liberal” medical cannabis programs.
Oklahoma has more than 2,800 licensed dispensaries, while some 10% of the state’s adult population have consumption licenses for medical marijuana.
What is your opinion? Do you agree or disagree with the states that have legalized marijuana? Share your view by emailing [email protected]. Thank you.
Oklahoma voters on Tuesday rejected the legalization of recreational marijuana. https://t.co/An802Sd547
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) March 8, 2023