Green the Vote, a group advocating for marijuana legalization in Oklahoma, announced over the weekend that it reached its goal for signatures to put recreational pot on the city’s ballot for November 6. To achieve this, the group needed 124,000 registered Oklahoma voters to sign its petition to add State Question 797 to the ballot. On Sunday, it said that it had more than 132,000 signatures to date.
Green the Vote began pushing for recreational marijuana and full medical cannabis after it watched the process of State Question 788. The group’s John Frasure said that, “796 and 797 are both constitutional amendments. If we get them on the ballot, we will get our people out and get them voted on, there you go.” However, many are wondering if 135,000 signatures will be enough.
“I will never feel safe until we get it on the ballot,” said Frasure. “We need everyone to get out and sign these petitions.” Frasure is asking voters who may have signed invalid petitions to go out there and sign again. He says that signatures are only valid if signed on the legal petition form, with all 20 signature lines and petition information.
The group’s problems are not exclusive to invalid signatures, however. Secretary of State James Williamson explained to News 4 several weeks ago that, after hiring people to count and check all the signatures, the petition must then go to the Governor for approval by August 27. That is just to get the process rolling.
Once the governor signs it, Williamson says, “It would then have to go to the Supreme Court to certify that there are a sufficient number of signatures and then, after that, there is a 10 day notification process by publication to give people who might want to protest 10 days to file objections to the signature count.” For the opposition, Paul Abner, Director of Oklahoma Faith Leaders, had this to say:
“While we support access to genuine medical marijuana, we are concerned that fully allowing recreational marijuana use would make pot far too accessible and, as a result, expand its use and misuse. Oklahoma pastors and ministers spend a lot of time helping families who have been stricken with addiction. We know that marijuana is addictive.”
Abner went on to explain that, “It is recognized as a gateway drug, associated with addiction to stronger drugs. Current campaigns to reduce or control addiction to opioids have the direct aim of reducing drug use. Why, then, should use of marijuana be sanctioned? Marijuana and other drugs offer promises of happiness that they cannot fulfill.”
Abner concluded his statement with, “There is so much hope and so many amazing things that God has planned for us in this life to waste our time in trivial pursuits of the instant gratifications found in drugs and drunkenness. Do not spend your life escaping, self-medicating, and sitting around.” Historically, Williamson says that getting a petition onto the ballot is a process that takes 60 days.