An effort to legalize recreational marijuana may be up in smoke, even though backers will likely get enough signatures to put the measure on the November ballot.
The group Green the Vote says it has about 104,000 signatures, just 20,000 shy of the number it needs to put recreational marijuana up for a vote in the November election. But the Oklahoma Secretary of State says it’s a lot more complicated than that.
"Even if they were to file it today it would be very unlikely it would get on the November ballot. But every day that it doesn't get filed it makes it less and less likely." Secretary of State James Williamson said.
This is because the signatures not only have to be collected, but they also have to be certified and approved by the governor by August 27. And if there are challenges to the petition, which there likely will be, "it becomes virtually impossible at that point." Williamson said.
Norma Sapp of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws remains optimistic.
"Yes it's going to be close. And we knew that going into it. But it's not impossible. It depends on how fast they count the signatures," Sapp said.
Sapp says there has been a huge increase in signatures since the State Board of Health made recommendations restricting medical marijuana.
"That day there was over 200 people applied to get a packet. And so since then it's grown enormously," Sapp said.
The State Attorney General recommended Wednesday rolling back those recommendations.
If there aren’t enough valid signatures to put the recreational marijuana measure on the ballot this year it will likely have to wait another two years for the next general election.
"Because of the cost of any kind of special election that’s not part of the normal election process it's unlikely there would be a special election." Williamson said.