Thursday, March 09, 2023

Oklahomans vote down recreational marijuana as SQ 820 fails in dramatic fashion

Recreational marijuana went up in flames, as Oklahoma voters on Tuesday gave State Question 820 a smashing defeat. In stunning fashion, the measure failed to win a single county in the state, despite millions of dollars spent by the 'Yes' side.

The final vote was 216,883 (38.32%) for the proposal, and 349,121 (61.68%) against the proposal.

Even the urban counties that went heavily in favor of the medical marijuana state question in 2018 (SQ 788). In 2018, Oklahoma and Tulsa counties went in favor with votes of 63.47% and 62.6%, respectively (56.86% statewide). This time? Oklahoma County had 49.98% in favor (losing by a mere 36 votes), while Tulsa County had 46.4%. 

I really was [very pleasantly] surprised at such a stinging defeat for the marijuana expansion. I fully expected SQ 820 to win, though I figured it would be a more narrow victory than the medical marijuana election, on the basis of expected strength in the urban areas. I am glad to have been mistaken on my assumption.

Here are reactions from Attorney General Gentner Drummond (who was out with his before the vote counting was concluded), Governor Kevin Stitt, the Protect Our Kids NO 820 campaign, and the Oklahoma Public Safety Coalition.

Drummond comments on defeat of SQ 820

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 7, 2023) -- Attorney General Gentner Drummond made the following remarks this evening in light of the apparent rejection of State Question 820 by Oklahoma voters:

"I'm proud of Oklahomans for rejecting the expansion of organized crime by defeating State Question 820. Regardless of where one stands on the question of marijuana legalization, the stark reality is that organized crime from China and Mexico has infiltrated Oklahoma's medical marijuana industry. I will continue to focus on this serious threat to public safety by targeting the illegal grow operations throughout our state."


OKLAHOMA CITY (March 7, 2023) - Governor Stitt released the following statement Monday evening following the rejection of State Question 820:

"Oklahomans rejected State Question 820. I believe this is the best thing to keep our kids safe and for our state as a whole."

"Oklahoma is a law and order state. I remain committed to protecting Oklahomans and my administration will continue to hold bad actors accountable and crack down on illegal marijuana operations in our state."

"We are obviously pleased with the results. We think this sends a clear message that Oklahomans oppose the unfettered access to marijuana we have experienced under our so-called medical program. Voters clearly want to protect our children, crack down on organized crime, and improve the mental health of those in our state."  

 -- Pat McFerron, Protect Our Kids NO 820


(March 8th) Leaders from the Oklahoma Public Safety Coalition issued the following statements reacting to  the overwhelming defeat of State Question 820. 

“The voters of Oklahoma spoke with an overwhelming, clear voice tonight. Despite out of state  interests sinking millions of dollars into our state, the voters made clear that our children  should be protected and that organized crime syndicates are not welcome in Oklahoma,” said  Rogers, Craig, and Mayes County District Attorney Matt Ballard who is currently serving as  Oklahoma District Attorneys Association President.  

“The voters want a return to law and order in the state of Oklahoma. Once again, a so called  ‘criminal justice reform’ state question has failed by a shocking margin in our state. We will  continue to advocate for smart policy, but the will of the people is clear- we must never  sacrifice public safety,” said Logan County Sheriff and Oklahoma Sheriffs Association President  Damon Devereaux. 

“It is a great day for our state and for the future of our children,” said current President of  OACP, Chief James Smith of the Lawton Police Department.


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