On Tuesday, a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana was defeated in Oklahoma.
Politicians from the traditionally conservative state rallied against the proposal, effectively preventing Oklahoma from joining the ranks of 21 other states that have already legalized recreational use of marijuana.
“We’re pleased the voters have spoken,” said Republican strategist Pat McFerron. “We think this sends a clear signal that voters are not happy with the recreational nature of our medicinal system. We also think it shows voters recognize the criminal aspects, as well as the need for addressing mental health needs of the state.”
If approved, the proposal would have allowed anyone over the age of 21 to “purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, plus concentrates and marijuana-infused products.” Supporters were hoping for a big boon from sales taxes.
In 2018, Oklahoma approved the use of medical marijuana and currently has one of the most relaxed programs in the country. It is reported that approximately 10% of all adults in the state possess a medical license, and unlike other states, there are no specific qualifying conditions to obtain one, only a recommendation from a physician is required, as per the National Library of Medicine.
The prospect of legalizing recreational marijuana prompted a wave of marijuana entrepreneurs to invest in Oklahoma, hoping to capitalize on potential business opportunities.
These entrepreneurs saw the possibility of attracting customers from the nearby Dallas-Fort Worth area, where recreational marijuana is still illegal.