OKLAHOMA CITY — Nearly four years after Oklahomans passed the Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, voters could soon decide to legalize recreational marijuana.
In Oklahoma City, more than 100 boxes totaling over 164,000 signatures were dropped off at the Secretary of State's office Tuesday, July 5, morning. Signatures will be verified before State Question 820 makes it to the November ballot.
Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana is behind the signature collection and push to be on the ballot. The group had 90 days to collect 94,911 signatures before August 1 of this year. They collected nearly 50,000 more signatures than required and turned them in a month before the deadline.
"We think Oklahomans are ready for this," said Ryan Kiesel, a senior consultant for the State Question 820 Campaign. "We think that the state needs this and putting it off was really not a question for us."
Voters will decide on whether or not to approve legalized recreational marijuana as a state statute in November, but not everyone is in favor of the possibility of it passing.
"I honestly don't feel like it's necessary," said Shelly Kingery, an Oklahoma resident. "I think that medical marijuana passing is enough and I would not support recreational use."
Since the passage of medical marijuana, cardholders have been taxed 7% to purchase cannabis. This generated more revenue than was anticipated, and if approved, recreational marijuana use will be taxed at 15% bringing in more money to the state. Medical will continue to be taxed at 7%.
"To be clear, medical marijuana was never really meant to be a revenue generator for the state, it's about medicine," Kiesel said. "When you move over to recreational, it is a revenue generator. The revenue that we've seen generated with medical marijuana, we anticipate will be even larger with recreational."
Despite the anticipated revenue growth, Kingery says she feels the money could come from somewhere else.
"I feel like we can find that money somewhere else and honestly, our taxes are going to go up whether we do recreational marijuana or not, I just think it's inevitable that that's going to happen."
If legalized, recreational marijuana can only be purchased by individuals ages 21-and-up. Residents from outside of Oklahoma will also be allowed to purchase marijuana while in Oklahoma.
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