Although proponents of State Question 807 were given the go-ahead to collect signatures, they say collecting the 177,958 signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot is unfeasible given the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proponents of an initiative petition to legalize recreational marijuana and implement sweeping criminal justice reforms say they have withdrawn the measure.

Although proponents of State Question 807 were given the go-ahead to collect signatures, they say collecting the 177,958 signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot is unfeasible given the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic also slowed down the petition process to advance to the signature-gathering phase, making it too late to qualify the measure for the statewide ballot this year.

“We have been put in a position of choosing between attempting to give Oklahomans an opportunity to adopt critical marijuana and criminal justice law reforms or protecting the health of ourselves and our fellow Oklahomans,” said SQ 807 backer Ryan Kiesel. “As necessary as these reforms are for Oklahoma, we cannot in good conscience embark on a campaign that would require hundreds of thousands of interactions in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Trying to qualify the measure for the ballot at a later time is possible, Kiesel said. Likely the earliest an initiative petition could come up for a statewide vote would be in 2022.

SQ 807 sought to legalize recreational marijuana use for Oklahomans ages 21 and older. The measure would have also created a pathway for offenders to seek reversal and expungement of certain marijuana-related convictions.

Kiesel, a former state legislator and head of the ACLU of Oklahoma, encouraged lawmakers to tackle marijuana policy reform, but warned against “half-steps that do not address the damage caused by decades of broken marijuana policy.”