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State Question 820 Oklahoma: Marijuana Legalization & Reform

State Question 820 Oklahoma

August 25, 2023News

Passage of State Question 820 Oklahoma would permit adults to possess and grow up to one ounce of marijuana. Furthermore, private citizens would be able to purchase it from licensed dispensaries and use it themselves.This measure would also enable courts to revise, reverse and modify low-level marijuana convictions – potentially helping address racial imbalance in criminal justice systems.

State Question 820 in Oklahoma presents a significant proposal at the crossroads of marijuana legalization and comprehensive reform. This ballot initiative seeks to address multiple facets of cannabis policy. Encompassing not only the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults. But also a comprehensive framework for regulation, taxation, and criminal justice reform.

State Question 820 Oklahoma

State Question 820 Oklahoma Legalization

State Question 820 would allow Oklahomans aged 21 or over to purchase marijuana at licensed dispensaries. As well as grow six plants at home and possess up to an ounce of the substance. Furthermore, it would impose a 15 percent excise tax on recreational sales; more than twice what is collected currently from medical cannabis sales by local governments; these funds would then go toward public education, law enforcement and other government priorities.

Supporters of this measure argue that it strikes an appropriate balance between personal freedom and regulation, providing consumers with a safer alternative to alcohol consumption. Furthermore, supporters claim it would create jobs, foster economic development and free up law enforcement to pursue more serious drug crimes; unfortunately they have yet to convince lawmakers to ease banking restrictions that affect marijuana businesses.

The No on 820 campaign has maintained that its passage will lead to increased illicit trafficking and undermine voters’ ability to select their government of choice. Furthermore, they have taken issue with its spending on television ads for campaign purposes.

Yes on 820 has garnered endorsement from various philanthropic groups that fund criminal justice reform. These groups include Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Arnall Family Foundation, ACLU Oklahoma and Students for Sensible Drug Policy – plus it boasts strong local business support along with endorsement from Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association.


State Question 820 Oklahoma would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older in Oregon, creating a regulated system with standards, limits on marketing, seed-to-sale tracking and seed-to-sale revenue tracking capabilities. Millions would be raised that could go toward education, law enforcement and other priorities while reforms including expungement for past marijuana convictions do not impact people’s lives negatively.

State and local governments would impose a 15% excise tax on recreational marijuana sales, more than double what currently applies for medical cannabis sales (7%). These funds would go towards supporting state services, public schools, nonprofits fighting substance abuse, local governments, courts and localized police officers conducting probable-cause searches based on smell alone as a basis for search warrants. In addition, this measure restricts probable-cause searches by prohibiting officers from relying on smell of marijuana to determine whether to search a property.

While the benefits of State Question 820 Oklahoma are obvious, its opponents contend that its passage will impede law enforcement efforts to control illegal marijuana grow operations. They note that it does not address issues related to foreign ownership of Oklahoma land and excessive water and electricity usage by large-scale growers; furthermore they fear it will increase violence related to black-market activities as well as create more jobs for Mexican drug cartels. Regardless of these reservations however, supporters believe it provides a responsible and conservative path toward legalization which will provide lasting benefit for Oklahomans.

State Question 820 Oklahoma


State Question 820 would go further than legalizing recreational marijuana by expunging certain past criminal cases related to its use, enabling people with previous convictions to rent/buy properties and apply for jobs more easily. Furthermore, this bill proposes criminal justice reforms which address racial disparities in marijuana enforcement; supporters of the measure point out that over recent decades an alarmingly large number of Oklahomans have been charged with marijuana-related offenses; particularly urban black and rural white communities where many were imprisoned due to such convictions affecting quality of life issues for these individuals.

Jed Green alleges in his challenge to SQ 820 that its ballot is unconstitutional and misleading, alleging it violates Article V’s single subject rule as it deals with legalization of marijuana as well as criminal justice reform reform measures simultaneously. However, the Court did not uphold his argument.

State Question 820 Oklahoma on the ballot contains several provisions, such as a 15% excise tax on cannabis sales. This tax would go toward programs for children and adults at risk, drug addiction treatment programs, community programs and administrative and regulatory costs for Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. Any remaining revenue would go directly into state general funds and public school grants.


On March 7, Oklahomans will cast ballots in a statewide election to decide whether legalizing recreational cannabis use should become law. Opponents, including religious leaders and law enforcement officials, warn of increased rates of drug abuse among children as well as increased crime. They also fear it would increase illegal marijuana “grow” operations, create black markets, and negatively affect the environment.

Advocates of State Question 820 Oklahoma believe it to be a safe and responsible solution that will bolster the state economy. According to them, this initiative will create jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue. Moreover, supporters believe it will make drugs safer for children while decreasing crime.


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