Recreational Marijuana State Question Misses Deadline to Make November Ballot- Unless Supreme Court Makes Exception to State LawSun, 28 Aug 2022 13:08:58 CDT
The Oklahoma Supreme Court heard an oral presentation Friday, August 26 after a group associated with State Question 820, a potential measure that would legalize recreational marijuana, filed a petition to circumvent Oklahoma’s state statute requiring the completion of a number of procedures before a state question can appear on a ballot.
In the state of Oklahoma, any race or measure appearing on the November 8 ballot must be cleared and given to the state election board by August 26. This allows the election board to create, revise and print ballots with ample time to send absentee ballots to voters by September 23.
Michelle Tilley Nichols and Michelle Jones petitioned the Oklahoma Supreme Court to assume original jurisdiction and overrule the statutory process to advance SQ 820 to the November 8 ballot. This would omit remaining procedural steps that would cause SQ 820 to miss the August 26 deadline.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation joined forces with the State Chamber Research Foundation Legal Center and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association to submit an amicus curiae – or “friend of the court” – brief in support of the state election board.
The group urged the Supreme Court to preserve the integrity of the state statute to ensure a fair and equal process for all state questions, both current and past.
According to the brief filed by the three groups- they urge the Supreme Court to deny the request to circumvent the initiative petition process "because this request is truly extraordinary when put in context of previous state questions. The vast majority of state questions from the last decade have taken more than the Petitioners "expected" or desired eight months to make it on the ballot. As such, truncating the process for one state question, but not others, unfairly disadvantages other state questions that gone through the required process." They add that the Supreme Court saying "yes" to the proponents of State Question 820 will up the gamesmanship of State Questions in the future and ensure that many more such requests will be asked for in the future.
The court did not issue a ruling before the election board’s deadline, leaving SQ 820 off the November 8 ballot for the time being.
The OKFB Legal Foundation and partners released the following statement Friday:
The State Chamber Research Foundation Legal Center, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association engaged in Nichols v. Ziriax, et al, not based on the subject matter of the question but rather the vital right of Oklahomans to petition the government through an initiative, while maintaining the integrity of the rules all Oklahomans must play by.
We anxiously await a decision from the Oklahoma Supreme Court on this matter and are hopeful it will uphold our state’s initiative petition process.
Click on the PDF link Brief below to see the "friend of the court" brief from the groups.
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