Oklahoma Just Voted Against Legalizing Recreational Weed. Why?

The state of Oklahoma has turned down legal recreational marijuana in a recent vote, 62% opposed and 38% in favor.

“We think this sends a clear message that Oklahomans oppose the unfettered access to marijuana we have experienced under our so-called medical program,” said Pat McFerron, a spokesperson and pollster for Protect Our Kids No 820.

So why are Oklahoma’s cannabis laws going in the opposite direction of those in states like Colorado? Perhaps the answer lies in the cannabis laws Oklahoma has already passed, or lack thereof.

Medical cannabis was legalized in Oklahoma in 2018, winning the vote by 14 percentage points. Oklahoma was the first red state to legalize medical marijuana and the state responded like no other. Most states made it expensive and somewhat challenging to get a medical card or operate a large-scale cultivation operation, but not so in Oklahoma. After voters approved medical marijuana, the state placed no limit on how many medical marijuana businesses could open and did not require specific health conditions for patients to be eligible. There are nearly 2,900 medical dispensaries licensed in the state — more than California, which has 10 times Oklahoma’s population.

Mark Woodward, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, told television station KOCO last year that about 2,000 farms in the state —approximately a quarter of the total — are under investigation for fraud or diverting supply to the illicit trade. Last year, the state implemented a two-year moratorium on new marijuana business licenses, and Republicans led the charge to stop recreational cannabis legalization.

The Cannabis Report – March 16th, 2023
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    Oklahoma Just Voted Against Legalizing Recreational Weed. Why? Hannah Leigh

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About Leland Rucker:

Leland Rucker is a journalist who has been covering the cannabis industry culture since Amendment 64 legalized adult-use in Colorado, for Boulder Weekly, Sensi, and The News Station. Leland has been keeping KGNU listeners up-to-date on cannabis news for nearly a decade.

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    Oklahoma Just Voted Against Legalizing Recreational Weed. Why? Hannah Leigh

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Hannah Leigh

Hannah Leigh has been a volunteer and staff reporter, host, and digital producer for KGNU since 2012. She's also a professional podcast producer and freelance reporter.
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