It looks like recreational cannabis legalization is not yet in the cards for Oklahoma. That’s because the petition to get State Question 797 on the November ballot has failed to meet the required number of signatures.
The proposed State Question 797 is the constitutional question that seeks to legalize adult-use cannabis. And cannabis advocacy group “Green the Vote” had been the one gathering signatures from the voters.
According to the Office of the Secretary of State, they counted 102,814 signatures for the proposed recreational cannabis ballot measure. This is more than 20,000 signatures shy of the 123,725 signatures needed for the initiative. This requisite number represents 15 per cent of the total number of ballots that were cast in the 2014 gubernatorial election.
Green the Vote’s deception
It has been reported earlier this month that Green the Vote has intentionally overstated the signature counts in the weeks leading to the deadline. The group admitted that they had purposely inflated the number and said that they already had more than the required number of signatures when they really haven’t.
Green the Vote leader Issac Caviness said that instead of 132,000, the number of signatures they had collected was actually just around 78,000. Their admission came only days before the deadline for submission of signatures.
Votes made the deadline
Last week, CannabizDaily reported that Green the Vote was able to deliver the signatures to the Secretary of State. However, the exact number of signatures delivered was unknown.
The group had set up tents on the Capital parking space to collect additional signatures before they submitted them. All that was left for them to do after was cross their fingers.
Signature count falls short
The Secretary of State is required by law to send a report regarding its findings on the matter to the state Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will then review the information contained in the report and officially determine if there are sufficient signatures to place the State Question 797 on the ballot.
The report from Secretary of State James Williamson stated that they did not include more than 100 signature sheets in the count for various reasons. This means that around 2,600 signatures were discounted.
Problems with the disregarded sheets include missing information, incorrect petition cover sheets, and wrong paper size.
Joshua Lewelling, Green the Vote co-founder and board member, said that they are disappointed about the 102,000 final signature count as they were expecting a little more. He said that they actually expected around 115,000 to 120,000.
What’s next for Green the Vote?
A final determination that there is a shortage of signatures means that the petition for State Question 797 has failed.
Lewelling blames the petition’s demise on the state’s restrictive requirements. He said that the guidelines are very strict and the 90-day timeline is very difficult to meet, especially by an all-volunteer, grass-roots movement.
Green the Vote has not failed entirely, though. The group was very instrumental in the passing of State Question 788 into law, which legalized medical cannabis.