Bonnie Caldwell

Cannabis Legalization Efforts in Oklahoma Faces Hurdles

Cannabis Legalization Efforts in Oklahoma Faces Hurdles

Oklahoma is one of the many states considering recreational cannabis legalization. Still, before people can freely purchase and consume their child-resistant containers filled with marijuana, cannabis legalization must overcome some obstacles first. 

“The medical [marijuana] in Oklahoma, the percent of our population is the highest in the country. We know people use it, we see them every day they come in here, so we know people love this product,” Bonnie Caldwell of Seed Cannabis Co. said in an interview with KTUL.

Seed Cannabis Co. is one of the many retail, medical marijuana dispensaries available in Oklahoma. Other states’ legislation limits the number of cannabis businesses that can operate within their state borders, but Oklahoma does not. Oklahoma’s “hands-off” approach means many cannabis entrepreneurs can participate in the state’s market.

Although medical marijuana is legal, groups like Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action (ORCA) advocate for recreational cannabis in the state plus changes to the state’s medical-marijuana program.

“Recreational is here, it’s been here for decades, and it’s going to be here. The fundamental question is, who gets the dollars?” Jed Green, one of the founders of ORCA, said.

ORCA members and other cannabis advocates are scheduled to meet with officials from the state’s Supreme Court to discuss two medical and recreational cannabis proposals.

“We are creating a more level playing field for businesses to be able to compete, fundamentally against the illicit market,” Green said as reported by Dope Magazine. “We want the dollars to go to classrooms, not to cartels.”

Only Oklahoma residents with medical marijuana cards can legally purchase cannabis in the state. Even though the state’s medical marijuana sales are booming, authorities are still cracking down on the illicit market.

ORCA’s hearing with the Supreme Court is scheduled for January 6, and the court may issue a ruling within a month.

If the two proposals from ORCA overcome the Supreme Court’s challenge, the cannabis advocacy group has 90 days to collect at least 178 thousand signatures.

If the necessary signatures are collected and verified by the governor, they will be on the state’s 2022 ballot.

The cannabis advocacy group had faced opposition before when their adult-use cannabis legalization was challenged in court by a former gubernatorial candidate

While the state’s cannabis legalization efforts are presented in court, Caldwell believes adult-use cannabis will eventually occur in Oklahoma.

“We’ve always known that either the state will go recreational or the federal government will take it recreational, so we’ve always been ready for that,” Caldwell said.

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