Petitions could lead to full marijuana legalization

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - New petitions will be filed next week that could lay the groundwork for both medical and recreational marijuana to become legal in Oklahoma.

State Question 788, which would legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma is already on the June ballot, but recently we've seen some state lawmakers try to pass bills that would change 788 before it's even voted on.

That's why Green the Vote is filing two petitions Friday, March 30 that could be the first step towards full marijuana legalization being written as amendments to our state's constitution.

Green the Vote President Isaac Caviness said making the marijuana laws part of the state's constitution will ensure it is what the people want, not simply what our legislators want.

"The lawmakers can't change these constitutional amendments. They can't add any legislation to these constitutional amendments. If they make any changes to them, they have to put it back to the vote of the people to get it approved. It's basically a safeguard to what our lawmakers might do to marijuana legislation," Caviness said.

March 30, two petitions will be submitted, at which point there is a 30-day waiting period where anyone can protest the legitimacy of the petitions. When that 30 days is up, Green the Vote will have 90 days to get approximately 125,000 signatures for the petitions. If they do, the petitions will go to a state-wide vote.

One of those petitions is very similar to State Question 788, which would legalize medical marijuana. But the other one would be to fully legalize marijuana for everyone, using the tax money raised to fund teacher pay raises.

"One of the things we did with that was we earmarked the first $100 million generated from casual use sales to teacher compensation, not to be used for administrative fees. Essentially every school would get a cut of this $100 million to go to teacher pay."

Caviness said Green the Vote did not intend on pursuing recreational marijuana use in Oklahoma. But he said plans have changed as they've seen our legislators continue to fail at solving our state's budget crisis.

"Our hearts have always been with the patients of Oklahoma and what we can do to bring those patients some relief. But we've seen out of our legislature that they don't seem to be connecting with what the people in Oklahoma are asking for. We're looking at a teacher walkout here in another week or so because our lawmakers have ignored the problem for so long," Caviness said.

Caviness said he feels confident they will be able to get enough signatures on those petitions and hopes to get them on the November ballot. If those amendments do make it on the ballot and pass, they would supersede any laws voted on prior to it, meaning they would take the place of 788 if it passes in June and would eliminate any previous bills our lawmakers pass regarding it.

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