Legalization Update: OK Votes Against Recreational Cannabis

Oklahoma’s hopeful rec pot initiative fails to garner enough support to end statewide cannabis prohibition.

The fight for nationwide decriminalization of cannabis suffered a setback Tuesday, when Oklahoma voters rejected a measure that would have decriminalized marijuana. With 100 percent of the state’s 1,982 precincts reporting, State Question 820 was voted down by a final ratio of 61.68 percent opposed to 38.32 percent in favor.

For some time now, the momentum toward federal legalization has been seemingly gathering steam—in the past year alone, Missouri and Maryland have voted to decriminalize marijuana, while Mississippi began its own medical cannabis program. These states represent a portion of the 21 states, two territories and the District of Columbia, all of which have opted for legalized adult-use/recreational marijuana, as well as the 37 states, three territories and the District of Columbia, which have medical cannabis programs in place.

However, with this latest blow to the anti-prohibition movement, Oklahoma joins Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota, where ballot measures aiming for legalization suffered similar fates.

Fortunately, for the time being, there do not appear to be any adverse effects on Oklahoma’s nearly 400,000 enrolled patients enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program. However, there is some concern that in light of the defeat, a case for tougher regulations could gain traction.