By: Buz Deliere | February 6, 2023
One month from now, Oklahomans will vote on a historic and potentially game-changing ballot measure that could legalize recreational cannabis use for adults aged 21 years and up. State Question 820 aims to make Oklahoma the latest in a growing number of states to embrace this significant move toward greater access to medical marijuana.
With the Oklahoma vote on adult-use cannabis legalization fast approaching, this new report released by the Yes On 820 campaign may sway voters in its favor. It highlights numerous economic advantages that could be seen throughout all of Oklahoma should it pass — such as increased state revenue and job growth within the state's growing marijuana industry.
An in-depth study conducted by Vicente Sederberg LLP and the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association confirms that if State Question 820 passes, it could result in a staggering $821 million influx for Oklahoma's economy via taxes from medical and recreational use of marijuana.
A proposed 15% excise tax on recreational cannabis sales is projected to generate $434 million in new state revenue, adding up to a whopping total of over $821 million from taxes alone. Over the course of 5 years, experts anticipate an abundance of medical and adult-use sales reaching nearly 4 billion dollars!
The Oklahoma cannabis industry recently hit a record high in December of over $62M and appears to be continuing to thrive.
The report suggests the potential for recreational cannabis sales to begin as early as 2023, but more realistically by January 2024. The report also signals that the Oklahoma market is projected to reach maturity in 2028, at which point experts anticipate the rate of tax revenue will be lower than in other states due to intense competition and free-market forces. However, some suggest that this conservative projection may not reflect all possibilities and could therefore underestimate total tax revenues for the state in later years.
Oklahoma's medical cannabis market is surging with growth, as the state holds its place at the top in the patient-to-population rate. With such strong numbers since legalization was first approved two years ago, many are calling for recreational use to be legalized next - a logical step that could bring even more notable success stories from this already impressive sector of the economy.
Yes on 820's Campaign Manager, Michelle Tilley has stressed the importance of every vote in next month's special election, emphasizing that it would be foolish to assume this ballot initiative will pass without full voter participation. Without a massive effort from Oklahomans backing their cause, the future could remain uncertain.
Despite a swell of momentum, Oklahoma cannabis legalization has seen notable opposition. This coalition which includes former governor Frank Keating and Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler argues the potential harms could outweigh the benefits for Oklahomans with their newly-formed Protect Our Kids No 820 initiative.
Despite the lack of research displaying any danger posed to adults by using cannabis, 2 News Oklahoma reported that District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler warned against its use due to safety concerns for both children and adults. He emphasized that regulation of these substances has yet to meet what was initially promised, highlighting further reasons why this is an urgent matter in need of attention.
Tilley argued that SQ 820 if passed, will be advantageous to our state's children by subjecting products and services to the utmost safety standards. Additionally, new revenue generated would directly benefit education in Oklahoma with much-needed funding support.
Discussions about the potential impacts of legal recreational cannabis on youth consumption have been ongoing for years, but new research indicates that these concerns may be unfounded. A study conducted in 2022 found no correlation between state policy and risk perception among children when it came to marijuana use – with individual-level characteristics proving instead to be more influential in determining attitudes toward the substance.
On March 7, 2023, voters in Oklahoma will have the chance to cast their ballots on a proposal for state question 820. Make sure your voice is heard and exercise your right to vote!