Activists in Oklahoma Finalize Recreational Cannabis Ballot Proposals
Written by on September 23, 2021
An activist group in Oklahoma said this week that it has put the finishing touches on a pair of ballot proposals that would legalize recreational pot in the state and overhaul its medical marijuana program.
Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action, or “ORCA,” said on Tuesday that it had produced the “final drafts” of the two petitions that could help get the initiatives on next year’s ballot in the state.
Under the proposed Oklahoma Marijuana Regulation and Right to Use Act, it would be lawful for “all persons twenty-one (21) years of age and older to grow, purchase, transport, receive, prepare and consume marijuana and marijuana products,” and to “possess up to: twelve (12) marijuana plants and the marijuana harvested therefrom; one (1) ounce of concentrated marijuana; seventy-two (72) ounces of topical marijuana; seventy-two (72) ounces of edible marijuana; eight (8) ounces of suppository marijuana and eight (8) ounces of commercially sold marijuana.”
The petition explicitly addresses “impairment testing,” saying that if the initiative passed, no “test which identifies the presence of THC metabolites in a person’s blood, urine, hair, hair follicle or other body fluids or tissues shall be used as evidence of impairment or intoxication for the purposes of denying any form of healthcare, housing, employment, public assistance, license or licensed activity, public benefit, parental right, educational opportunity or extracurricular activity.”
The Oklahoma Marijuana Regulation and Right to Use Act would establish an “expungement program,” taking a cue from other states that have included retroactive expungement in their own legalization efforts.
Oklahoma Stepping it Up
Under Oklahoma’s program, a person currently serving time for a pot-related conviction “may file a petition for resentencing, reversal of conviction and dismissal of case or modification of judgment and sentence before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in the person’s case to request resentencing, modification or reversal in accordance with this Article.”
It would also open the door for a “person who has completed his or her sentence for a conviction, whether by trial or plea of guilty or nolo contendere, whose conduct would have been lawful had this Article been in effect at the time of the offense, [to] file a petition before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in the person’s case to have the conviction dismissed, expunged and vacated as legally invalid in accordance with this Article.”
The law would levy an excise tax rate of 15 percent for “marijuana and marijuana products purchased by persons without a valid Oklahoma medical marijuana patient license or Oklahoma caregiver license.” The tax revenue would be divided up among various agencies anc causes.
Ten percent of the gross collection of taxes on retail sales would go to “the Oklahoma Water Resources Board for infrastructure financing programs to foster water supply reliability and economic and environmental resiliency,” while five percent would go to “the Department of Human Services to provide for Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Programs for the benefit of persons with physical and developmental disabilities.”
Another five percent is going to “not-for-profit organizations, whether government or community-based, to increase access to evidence-based low-barrier drug addiction treatment and to support job placement, housing, and counseling for those with substance use disorders.”
Various other agencies would absorb the rest of the tax revenue.
ORCA’s other petition addresses Oklahoma’s new medical cannabis program, which was established after voters in the state passed a measure legalizing the treatment in 2018.
Under the so-called Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Enforcement and Anti-Corruption Act, a newly created state agency called the Oklahoma State Cannabis Commission would “assume all administrative, regulatory and appropriate adjudicative authority over cannabis, hemp and marijuana plants, the products derived therefrom, and the related services as established in the provisions set forth in this Article.”
The new OSCC would supplant the existing Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, which was established to oversee the state’s medical cannabis program.
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