The Washington Post

Voters say ‘no’ to recreation­al marijuana

- — Joanna Slater

Voters in Oklahoma on Tuesday rejected a measure to legalize the recreation­al use of marijuana, a defeat that marks a significan­t setback for the marijuana legalizati­on movement.

The Associated Press projected the defeat, which came five years after state voters approved the drug for medical purposes. Oklahoma, one of the more conservati­ve states in the country, would have been the 22nd state to allow recreation­al use of marijuana.

In November, voters in five states considered similar measures. Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota voted no, while Maryland and Missouri voted yes.

Oklahoma’s State Question 820 would have allowed adults over the age of 21 to buy marijuana from licensed sellers and would have establishe­d a tax on the proceeds. It also would have permitted some marijuana-related conviction­s to be expunged.

The measure faced opposition from Republican lawmakers, including Sen. James Lankford and Gov. Kevin Stitt.

The proposal’s backers said it would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue, help address racial disparitie­s in marijuana-related conviction­s and further regulate the industry.

In 2018, Oklahoma legalized marijuana for medical use and permitted large-scale cultivatio­n operations. There are nearly 2,900 medical dispensari­es licensed in the state — more than California, which has 10 times Oklahoma’s population.

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