Last week, the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected a pair of legal challenges against a cannabis legalization proposal. The court afforded the petitioners a small window to request for a rehearing as it prepares to make a final ruling in the coming week on whether the proposal can be brought before voters this year.
The deadline to send in challenges against the proposed amendment to the constitution closed earlier in the week. Four challenges were filed, including two concerning the language of the ballot title, and two that dealt with signature certification, which were shot down by the court.
One of the rejected challenges came from Mike Reynolds, a former legislator from Oklahoma, who claimed that a state law that was recently enacted on election integrity made it almost impossible to review signatures. In its ruling, the court stated that Reynolds had been able to access the petition after he had filled out his application as per the statute, noting that his request for more days to challenge the proposal after he’d reviewed the signatures would violate the plain language and legislative intent of the statute.
The other dismissed challenge was made by Paul Tay, a controversial marijuana activist who alleged that signatures gathered on sovereign Indian land weren’t valid. He made a similar complaint against a legalization measure led by another campaign In its ruling, the court stated that it had lost patience with the activist, noting that he had a history of filing original proceedings, the majority of which had no legitimate basis legally.
In addition to the response, the Oklahoma Supreme Court revoked Tay’s pauperis status, which had enabled him to file complaints in the past without paying any fee.
Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws (OSML) submitted more signatures than required to qualify its legalization initiative in July. The organization also accepted revisions to the ballot title language from the state’s attorney general before the Office of the Secretary of State certified the signatures in August.
In a statement, Yes on 820’s campaign director, Michelle Tilley, stated that the group had been confident that the court would reject any frivolous complaints, noting that the court had done that by dismissing the complaints filed during the protest period.
The remaining complaints, include one which argues that the ballot title’s language is misleading because it doesn’t sufficiently inform voters about policy impacts of the measure. For example, the lack of disclosure about provisions for decriminalization for individuals aged 21 and under and firearm-related implications makes the title misleading.
The other complaint was made by Jed Green, a marijuana activist who also maintained that there were omissions in the title of the ballot.
If the ballot measure is cleared by the top court in the state, voters could have a chance to approve it and pave the way for licensed cannabis companies similar to the likes of Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS) to set up shop in Oklahoma and address the needs of consumers there.
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