TULSA, Okla. - Proponents of a state question that, if passed, would legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma are both grateful and intrigued by the governor’s decision to put the issue on a primary election ballot instead of a general election ballot when more people are expected to turn out.
Chip Paul, president of Oklahomans for Health, told FOX23 he is happy the governor set a date for the state question for June 26, but is also interested to know why she didn’t wait until the November general election.
Paul said it has been years since Oklahoma voters were presented with a state question in an off-year, or non-general, election.
The last time voters considered off-year, or a non-general election, state question was in 2005 for a failed initiative to create a trust fund for highway and bridge improvements (State Question 723). The last time a state question was up for a vote during an election year, but not part of the general election ballot, was in 2000 for a state question changing the annual vehicle registration fee collected by the state. That item, State Question 691, passed.
Drew Edmondson, a former attorney general and Oklahoma Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said the governor was trying to influence the outcome of the medical marijuana question by choosing a primary election, which draws a lower voter turnout than a general election.
Paul said he is confident that medical marijuana will pass, but the June date means they need to get to campaigning sooner rather than later.
“This isn’t a partisan issue,” Paul said. “We have supporters from every party, age group, and demographic. This is something Oklahomans want, and we believe they will come out and pass this no matter when it is set for a vote.”
Oklahomans for Health, the group behind the ballot initiative to put medical marijuana up for a vote, will be campaigning, and creating yard signs and buttons in the very near future. It is also about to conduct its first public opinion poll on the matter, he said.
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