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Health

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Supporters Hit Ballot Title Snag Ahead Of November Election

Willy Jones, one of the area organizers for Oklahomans for Health, holds a sign in support of medical marijuana during a petition drive outside a vapor shop in Oklahoma City, Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Sue Ogrocki
/
AP
Willy Jones, one of the area organizers for Oklahomans for Health, holds a sign in support of medical marijuana during a petition drive outside a vapor shop in Oklahoma City, Thursday, July 3, 2014.

It looks much less likely a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma will appear on the ballot this fall.

On Thursday Attorney General Scott Pruitt submitted a revised ballot title for State Question 788. The ballot title explains what’s at stake to voters, and the group Oklahomans for Health argues Pruitt’s language is misleading and political, The Tulsa World’s Barbara Hoebrock reports:

“There is no way we can let the Pruitt ballot title stand,” said Chip Paul, a spokesman for Oklahomans for Health, which secured the signatures to get the issue before voters. The rewritten ballot title does not accurately reflect the medical component and implies marijuana will be legalized regardless of medical need, Paul said. “We will protest it,” Paul said. “It keeps us off the ballot in November, and that is what was probably intended.”

State Question 788 would allow doctors to recommend a medical marijuana license that would be issued by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Pruitt’s office says Oklahomans for Health didn’t submit the nearly 66,000 required petition signatures with enough time for the issue to survive legal challenges in time for the election.

The proposal is also running up against a logistical deadline, The Associated Press’ Justin Juozapavicius reports:

Federal law requires absentee ballots to be mailed to military members and overseas voters by Sept. 23, and Oklahoma State Election Board spokesman Bryan Dean says it plans to begin sending ballots to the printer Monday. "We can't do this overnight," he said.

At this point, that leaves two options: Either Gov. Mary Fallin can call a special election to consider the issue, or it can be placed on a statewide ballot two years from now. A special election is expected to cost $1.2 million, and would be a tough sell in the budget-crunched state.

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