Oklahoma, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Nebraska submit signatures to put cannabis on November ballot

Published on July 11, 2022
line of people stand in line to vote at indoor polling location
Could we see four more states with legal marijuana by the end of 2022? (AdobeStock)

Looks like there might be another green wave coming in November.

In the past week, residents of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and North Dakota submitted signatures to qualify adult-use cannabis legalization measures for their respective Nov. 2022 state ballots. 

And they didn’t just squeak by, either. Campaigns in all of these states turned in over 50% more signatures than they needed to qualify.

In similarly conservative Nebraska, activists turned in what they hope will be enough signatures to put medical marijuana back on the ballot. In 2020, the state Supreme Court killed a medical marijuana ballot measure on highly dubious grounds.

“As in past election years, voters in both traditionally ‘red’ and ‘blue’ states will have the opportunity to cast their vote in favor of ending the failed policy of cannabis criminalization,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a recent press release. “And, if past is precedent, voters in 2022 will once again demonstrate that legalizing and regulating marijuana is favored by the majority of voters, regardless of geography or party affiliation.”

Oklahoma knocks the signature drive outta the park

The group Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws needed to turn in 95,000 valid signatures to qualify adult-use legalization for the November ballot…and they submitted a full 164,000 signatures.

Assuming 95,000 signatures prove valid, Oklahomans will vote this November on Question 820. The measure would allow for the purchase and possession of up to one ounce of cannabis (or its equivalent in other forms), tax purchases at 15%, allow individuals to grow six plants at home, and create a pathway for expungement.

Medical marijuana is currently legal in Oklahoma, where the state’s program is both booming, and notoriously chaotic.

When did your state legalize marijuana?

Big turnout in Arkansas

Responsible Growth Arkansas only needed to collect 89,000 signatures to get adult-use on the November ballot, but they turned in more than twice that: 193,000 signatures.

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Their measure would not allow for home grow, and would cap licenses in the state: 20 cultivators, and 120 dispensaries.

The measure has faced criticism for creating an industry framework that could be prone to monopolization.

North Dakota sets up voters to succeed where lawmakers failed

Although North Dakota activists only needed to turn in 16,000 signatures—2% of the state’s population—to get their adult-use measure on the November ballot, they submitted nearly 26,000.

The measure would allow for the purchase and possession of up to one ounce of cannabis or its equivalent in other forms. Individuals could cultivate up to three plants at home.

Last year, the state Senate killed a bill that would have legalized marijuana. It contained provisions similar to the current measure.

Fingers crossed for Nebraska

Activists in Nebraska needed to submit 87,000 valid signatures for two separate measures to qualify medical marijuana for the November ballot. They submitted more than 90,000. In other words, if more than 3,000 signatures prove to be invalid, they won’t qualify for the ballot.

The same group, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, succeeded in qualifying medical marijuana for the 2020 ballot, but the state’s Supreme Court ruled that the measure was invalid (even though the Nebraska Secretary of State had already given it a green light).

“This is an outrageous and deeply flawed decision by a group of activist judges,” Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement at the time.

The 2022 measures, if qualified for the ballot and passed in November, would separately prevent the arrest of marijuana patients, and establish a regulatory body to create a framework for the state industry.

Nebraska high court kills 2020 medical marijuana initiative

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Max Savage Levenson
Max Savage Levenson
Max Savage Levenson likely has the lowest cannabis tolerance of any writer on the cannabis beat. He also writes about music for Pitchfork, Bandcamp and other bespectacled folk. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. His dream interview is Tyler the Creator.
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