Recreational marijuana supporters submit signatures for Nov. state question

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Supporters of legal, recreational marijuana submitted boxes of signatures Tuesday to the Oklahoma secretary of state’s office to try to get the issue before a vote of the people in November.

‘Yes on 820′ would legalize recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older. It would also keep the state’s medical marijuana program in place, and anyone without a patient card license would instead pay an elevated sales tax for the right to smoke recreationally.

Dispensaries that chose to sell recreational marijuana 90 days after the state question’s passage would have to have been in good standing with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority for one year before they would be allowed to transition their operations into a mix of medical and recreational cannabis sales.

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“We submitted well over the number of signatures we needed, and we’re confident this will be before the voters in November,” said Ryan Kiesel, senior campaign advisor for Yes on 820 and Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws.

Kiesel said the effort was not some attempt by just Oklahoma City and Tulsa residents to force something on the rest of the State of Oklahoma, but the group made an effort to collect signatures from every corner of the state.

“A lot of people live in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, but we’ve found that this is really an issue that effects everyone and across political lines,” he said. “We have supporters who stand on all sides of all sorts of issues, but this one has really united Republicans and Democrats and everyone else.”

The group submitted over 164,000 signatures to make sure all of their bases were covered and did so before the August 1st deadline for state ballot initiatives. The group really only needed around 94,000 as required by state law.

Kiesel said the higher taxes on recreational marijuana would help fund state programs, and it is a price some people are willing to pay for access to cannabis without applying for a medical marijuana license. He also said it would open up the state to new revenue source by allowing people to visit Oklahoma for immediate access to buying and using cannabis during their stay.

820 will also adjust state law so there would be better regulation of quality, packaging, and a seed-to-sale system. It will also change some of the laws surrounding marijuana where people aren’t punished anymore for what the group calls “simple mistakes”.

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