Okla. Court Advances Recreational Pot Proposal, Strikes Down Permitless Carry Repeal Question

Wednesday, June 24th 2020, 6:52 pm

The Oklahoma State Supreme Court announced two decisions on state questions Tuesday.

The high court ruled a push to legalize recreational marijuana does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

Challengers argued the federal supremacy clause makes the federal government’s marijuana prohibition supreme over any state law, therefore arguing the question would be illegal upon voter approval.

The court disagreed, writing “The Supreme Court of the United States has yet to directly address federal law preemption of state marijuana regulation…” allowing the petition to move forward.

“It’s doubtful that Oklahomans are going to see people out collecting signatures for this ballot measure anytime soon,” SQ 807 proponent and ALCU of Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Keisel said.

Despite the win in court, Keisel said the calendar and COVID-19 have made it impossible to collect signatures in time for the November 2020 election. He said the soonest Oklahomans would get a chance to vote on recreational marijuana would be if Governor Kevin Stitt held a special election in 2021, otherwise it will have to wait for the November 2022 election.

He said the measure would be retroactive, providing relief to people with past convictions or currently serving time due to marijuana related offense that would be made no longer illegal under the measure.

“What we’re realizing is that Oklahomans both for adult use and medicinal, use Oklahomans by and large across-the-board don’t think that either one of those things should land a person in jail or prison or in the criminal justice system,” Keisel said.

The court also ruled the petition summary used to get a repeal of the state’s permitless carry law on the November ballot was misleading, removing it from the ballot.

The state’s second amendment association told the court, petition summary is “…false, inaccurate, misleading, deceitful, and inflammatory.”

Justices agreed saying two sections “do not accurately explain the proposal's effect on existing law and are misleading.” 

“They failed to put in is that the repeal of constitutional carry would now criminalize a constitutional amendment and they slightly forgot to put that in there,” Second Amendment Association president Don. Spencer said.

“Our permitless carry law enables basically anyone to carry hidden, loaded guns in public without a background check or any safety training,” Oklahoma Moms Demand Action volunteer Christine Jackson said. “Especially in a time when public health should be at the forefront, this law makes Oklahoma less safe. The sooner we can get it off of our books, the better.”

News 9 reached out to Rep. Jason Lowe but did not hear back.