UPDATE: The Oklahoma Supreme Court will not rule on a request that the State Election Board place SQ 820 on the November ballot, instead holding the matter in abeyance.
SQ 820 seeks to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older in Oklahoma.
Proponents of the bill asked for the State Election Board to place SQ 820 on the ballot.
The Supreme Court stated it could not rule on the request.
“This matter is held in abeyance because the time period for filing objections to either the signatures or the ballot title has not yet expired,” the court’s order states.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Even though the deadline has come and gone for measures to make it on the ballot this November, there’s still uncertainty whether a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana will be voted on this year.
Aug. 26 was the deadline for the measure to be finalized, according to the State Election Board.
Michelle Tilley, the campaign director for Yes on 820 turned in more than enough for the question to make the ballot in early July, but the certification process wasn’t finished in time. She blames how long the state took to count.
“The counts generally take two to three weeks. In fact, petitions of our size take five to seven days,” said Tilley. “The fact that this process took 48 days is just ridiculous…we asked the Supreme Court to step in and ask the Election Board to go ahead and print and prepare State Question 820 on the ballot.”
In the filing, she also included that the petition’s proponents “respectfully request that the Court expedite its consideration and resolution of this matter, including setting an expedited briefing and hearing schedule to give the election board time to comply.”
However, some feel that would set a bad precedent.
“If the court chooses to ignore state law here, then that could open a Pandora’s box on any type of state questions we’ve had in the history of Oklahoma,” said Michael Kelsey, the Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association.
They teamed up with the State Chamber Research Foundation and Oklahoma Farm Bureau and filed a brief, pleading with the Supreme Court to not make an exception to the law.
“Our big concern is about the precedent that would be set in this case,” said Ben Lepak, the Executive Director of The State Chamber Research Foundation. “It’s not actually about the state question that’s being considered.”
Rodd Moesel, the President of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, added that the concern is about “protecting the process.”
The trio noted that while some believe the certification process for the measure took longer than it should have, data shows that it actually falls right in line with the state’s history.
“In fact, it would be faster than most state questions to get to the ballot if this one was to be on the November ballot,” said Lepak.
According to the brief, of the nine initiative petitions that have made it on the ballot in the last decade, only three have made it on a ballot quicker than SQ820 would have.
“I think the law’s pretty clear,” said Moesel. “I feel like they’ve missed the deadline.”
The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision this week.