Sources closely involved with the ill-fated SQ806 have notified SoonerPolitics that a revised document has been filed as SQ807. Media rumors allege that this new document is a simple edit of a few matters that were heavily condemned as they appeared in the text of SQ806.
ACLU is seen as closely involved with this effort. the leftist civil litigation group has often advanced Democrat Party policies in court interventions. Ryan Kiesel presents himself as having been extremely active in drug policy reform efforts, in Oklahoma. He leads the Oklahoma ACLU.
The group issued this press release.
There is also a companion FAQ sheet.
We have the text of the measure posted here.
New Marijuana Reform Ballot Initiative Filed with Oklahoma Secretary of State
For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Tilley
Oklahoma City, OK (December 27, 2019) – Proponents have withdrawn SQ 806 and today new language was filed for a marijuana reform ballot initiative with the Oklahoma Secretary of State to ensure that the rights and rules related to Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program will be unaffected by the constitutional amendment to legalize adult use of marijuana.
SQ 806 was filed on December 11, 2019, by two Oklahomans who believe that voters should decide the state’s marijuana laws. It created a constitutional ballot initiative to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults aged 21 and older in Oklahoma.
“The new ballot initiative strengthens the language of the previously filed initiative to ensure that we are crystal clear that this program does not adversely affect the current Oklahoma medical marijuana industry or its patients,” spokesperson Michelle Tilley said.
“While we did not foresee any issues with our original language, we are strong supporters of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana programs and we felt it was worthwhile to eliminate any uncertainty.”
The new ballot initiative would allow for the personal use of marijuana by adults age 21 and older, tightly regulate marijuana business to protect consumer safety, and create a tax on marijuana sales (the new tax would not apply to medical marijuana). Revenue from marijuana sales would be used to provide tens of millions of dollars in new funding for schools and other public services in Oklahoma. The measure also strengthens the growing marijuana business sector by prioritizing existing Oklahoma medical marijuana businesses for the new licenses and allows the legislature to create further residency requirements.
“Since medical marijuana became legal in Oklahoma, not only have thousands of Oklahomans benefited as patients, many Oklahomans have invested their own money in building businesses. Those businesses have in turn created good jobs throughout the state,” Tilley explained. “This new program will expand access for all adults over 21 in Oklahoma, while protecting the existing medical marijuana program and those who need medical marijuana as patients.”
Eleven other states have successfully legalized adult use of marijuana, generating over one billion dollars in new tax revenue to fund vital services in those states.
“An overwhelming majority of Oklahomans from across the political spectrum support reforming the marijuana laws in Oklahoma. The time has come to build a system of reasonable regulations that invests millions in education and health care,” said Ryan Kiesel, a Proponent of the state question. Kiesel is an attorney who helped defend the medical marijuana state question in 2018 and he is also a current medical marijuana cardholder in Oklahoma.
The initiative is backed by stakeholders in Oklahoma and New Approach PAC, a national marijuana reform organization that has managed successful ballot initiative campaigns to legalize medical marijuana and adult-use marijuana in multiple other states.
The petition will need nearly 178,000 signatures to put the issue on the November 2020 ballot. The Secretary of State will set the date for signature gathering to begin and supporters will then have 90 days to collect the required number of signatures in order to qualify for the November 2020 ballot.
Oklahoma Adult Use Marijuana Ballot Initiative Factsheet
After listening to feedback about SQ 806, proponents withdrew the initiative and new language was filed that strengthens the provisions protecting medical marijuana patients and businesses.
Modifications of Ballot Initiative Related to Medical Marijuana Include:
• Strengthens language that preserves the rights of medical marijuana patients and businesses throughout. Language clarifying that limitations on and penalties for quantity limitations, restrictions on possession, cultivation, public use, etc. established for adult consumers or new adult use businesses do not apply to medical patients and businesses and that the initiative does not affect the rights and privileges of patients or medical businesses.
For example, the addition of the following language throughout the initiative:
Nothing in this section or this article may be construed to limit any privileges, rights, immunities, or defenses of patients, medical marijuana licensees or medical marijuana businesses or to change or affect any law or regulation addressing marijuana for medical use or to apply any fine or other penalty to a patient, medical marijuana licensee, or medical marijuana business. Any restrictions or limitations on persons or consumers set forth in this section or elsewhere in the article do not apply to patients, medical marijuana licensees, or medical marijuana businesses if the restriction or limitation is inconsistent with Oklahoma’s laws related to medical marijuana.
• Technical changes throughout to the definitions, adult-use licensing structure, and agency regulation to increase workability with the existing medical marijuana system, and allow for flexibility should there be legislative changes to that structure in the future.
These changes include eliminating the wholesale license, the addition of packaging to the retail license, and other modifications.
• Flexibility that would allow for the Medical Marijuana Authority to become an independent, free standing agency at some point in the future.
• Clarification of limitations on local control to ensure no local ordinance would infringe on the existing rights of patients or medical marijuana businesses
• Provide a two-year priority licensing period for existing Oklahoma medical marijuana businesses after licensing begins. This will extend the residency requirement that exists for medical for at least three years. It also allows for the legislature to establish a residency requirement for adult use businesses.