Serge Melki

Oklahoma Supreme Court Restores MMJ Ballot Initiative Title

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has thrown out a rewrite of the title of a ballot measure to legalize medical cannabis in the state, paving the way for State Question 788 to make its way to voters, according to a report. The ballot measure has been on hold since September, when then-Attorney General Scott Pruitt decided to rewrite the title of the initiative; this led to a lawsuit between Pruitt, Oklahomans for Health, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, said Pruitt’s rewrite was meant to mislead voters into believing they would be voting for legalizing adult cannabis use.

“Whether it’s the folks that signed this initiative petition or all of the voters who will ultimately have the chance to weigh in on whether or not Oklahoma will have medical marijuana, they should be able to do that without the attorney general injecting his personal political position into the ballot campaign by misrepresenting what the petitioners seek to accomplish,” Kiesel said in the report.

The state Supreme Court ruled that Pruitt’s title changes be stricken and the original title language restored, but did not offer an explanation for its decision.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, who succeeded Pruitt after he took the job as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in February, said he disagreed with the court’s decision.

“The ballot title was reviewed by the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the Court opted to substitute the original ballot title language,” he said. “We disagree with that result, but respect the decision of the state’s highest court.”

According to the report, the measure will likely be put to voters in November 2018 during the gubernatorial election; however Gov. Mary Fallin could schedule a special election.

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