Oklahoma To Vote on Adult-Use Marijuana in 2023

Updated: Nov 10

As of the November 2022 midterm elections, 21 U.S. states have legalized adult-use cannabis for their citizens. The majority of these have, understandably, been states dominated by liberal or progressive voters, such as California, Oregon, and New York. Conservative states have, for the most part, been no shows at the adult-use cannabis party (with many also featuring no medical program).

Oklahoma is a good example of a state dominated by Republican politicians and a conservative electorate that has prospered from the 2018 legalization of medical cannabis in the form of State Question 788. The medical law passed with 56 percent of the vote—nearly identical to the win margin in California for adult-use marijuana two years earlier.


"With a population of only four million, Oklahoma features nearly 400,000 registered medical cannabis patients. This equals nearly one in ten adults in the state."

As of September 2022, the Sooner State, with a population of only four million, features nearly 400,000 registered medical cannabis patients. This equals nearly one in ten adults in the state who have enrolled in the medical marijuana programa program that has, by the way, generated more than $350 million in excise and sales tax (based on a seven percent excise tax).


To learn more about Oklahoma's medical cannabis program, see Higher Learning LV's "Deep Dive: Oklahoma Medical Cannabis Market."


State Question 820 on March 7, 2023

On October 18, Republican Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt announced that State Question 820 will be presented to voters in a special election to be held on March 7, 2023. Signature counting delays and legal challenges resulted in an inability to meet the November 2022 election deadline, creating the need for a special election. If approved by Oklahoma's voters, the law—pushed by Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws—would legalize adult-use cannabis for those 21 and over.


Cannabis Limits

This new law would put the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority in charge of cannabis business licensing and regulations. Adults in the state would be permitted to possess, transport, and distribute up to one ounce of loose-leaf cannabis, eight grams of marijuana concentrate, and eight grams of "marijuana-infused products."


Cannabis Home Grow & Records Expungement

The law includes a provision allowing adults to home cultivate up to six mature and six seedling cannabis plants. It also features "expungement or modification of certain previous marijuana-related convictions or sentences." Certain prior cannabis-related judgements and sentences must be resentenced, reversed, modified, or expunged.


"The law includes a provision allowing adults to home cultivate up to six mature and six seedling cannabis plants."

Cannabis Tax Revenues

A 15 percent excise tax on sales (in addition to standard state sales tax) would finance the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority's implementation and management of the initiative, with revenue received exceeding this amount channeled to the following recipients:

  • 30 percent to the state general fund

  • 30 percent to grants for public school programs to support student retention and performance, after-school and enrichment programs, and substance abuse prevention programs

  • 20 percent to grants for government agencies and not-for-profit organizations to fund drug addiction treatment and overdose prevention programs

  • 10 percent to the state judicial revolving fund

  • 10 percent to the municipalities or counties where the marijuana was sold

The law explicitly prohibits the exportation of cannabis from Oklahoma to other states. It allows municipalities and counties to prohibit or restrict cannabis use "on the property of the local government" and permits them to dictate the "time, place, and manner of the operation of marijuana businesses within its boundaries."


Jurisdictions May Not Prohibit Marijuana Businesses

Unlike many progressive states, including California, Oregon, and Washington, State Question 820 prohibits Oklahoma jurisdictions from limiting the number of or fully prohibiting cannabis businesses. This provision is a unicorn among adult-use cannabis laws in the U.S., even among the most progressive of U.S. states.


"The bad news for consumers: Landlords will be capable of banning cannabis smoking, similar to many other jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S."

The law would also allow individuals and private businesses to "prohibit or regulate marijuana-related conduct." However, lease agreements in the state would be illegal if they prohibit a tenant from "lawfully possessing and consuming marijuana by means other than smoking." The bad news for consumers: Landlords will be capable of banning cannabis smoking, similar to many other jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S.


If passed, the law would dictate that, for the first two years, operating licenses would be available "only to existing [medical] licensees in operation one year or more." State Question 820 would in no way affect the existing medical cannabis law that has been in place for four years.


View the full text of the measure.


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