Medical marijuana question won’t be on Oklahoma ballot in November

It appears certain that the medical marijuana question will not be on Oklahoma's ballot in November 2016. US Fish and Wildlife Service photo.

Faced with multiple bureaucratic delays in the process of getting a state question on the election ballot, and despite supporters having turned in enough signatures on petitions to qualify for the ballot, it appears certain that State Question 788, allowing the sale and use of medical marijuana, won’t make it on November’s ballot.

KXII News 12 in an article posted today, said, “The State Election Board said Oklahoma state statute requires the Governor submit a proclamation 70 days ahead of the election, authorizing it to be on the ballot. The cut-off date was August 30. Question 788 didn’t make it.

“Assistant Secretary for the State Election Board Pam Slater said the November ballot is already going through the proofing process, with the board expecting to start printing them any day.

“But the fight for medical marijuana in Oklahoma doesn’t end there. Question 788 could be approved to be put on a statewide election ballot in 2018, as long as it clears its remaining ballot title and signature hurdles.”

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt submitted a change to the ballot wording, that stretched out the process beyond the deadline.

Pruitt’s office issued a statement on Thursday, saying, ““While the Attorney General certainly empathizes with the health care needs some individuals may have with respect to this issue, he firmly believes his role in this process is to put himself in the shoes of all Oklahoma voters as they go to the ballot box on election day, ensuring that they are sufficiently informed by providing an accurate description of the measure’s effects. The proposition itself states there are no qualifying medical conditions, and while a physician has to sign-off on an application for a license, nothing in the law provides a physician will monitor usage.”

Pruitt is a strict abolitionist who sued Colorado to get them to stop allowing legal marijuana.

KXII continued, “Co-Chairman Frank Grove with Oklahomans for Health, the organization that proposed the ballot, said they have been forced to challenge the biased ballot title rewrite put out by the Attorney General Scott Pruitt, and may yet face additional challenges before they can make the ballot.

“’His politicization of the Initiative and Referendum process flies in the face of its intent,’ Grove said. ‘It also threatens the lives of Oklahomans who face life threatening illnesses and need access to medical cannabis today. Whatever the outcome of the judicial process we won't stop until SQ788 is put to a vote by the People.’

“Gaylor said Pruitt’s revision is written to discourage people from voting ‘yes’.

“’Which made it sound more like it was for everything and no restraints,’ Gaylor said. ‘And that’s not representing that particular petition.’”

If it clears all the official hurdles, the question is likely to be on the state election ballot in 2018.

The Gayly – September 2, 2016 @ 5 p.m.