OKLAHOMA CITY — Supporters of an effort to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma said Thursday they will challenge the ballot title rewording by Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
The ballot title explains the measure to voters.
Pruitt on Thursday submitted the ballot title for State Question 788, a measure that if approved by voters would legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma.
“There is no way we can let the Pruitt ballot title stand,” said Chip Paul, a spokesman for Oklahomans for Health, which secured the signatures to get the issue before voters.
The rewritten ballot title does not accurately reflect the medical component and implies marijuana will be legalized regardless of medical need, Paul said.
“We will protest it,” Paul said. “It keeps us off the ballot in November, and that is what was probably intended.”
Pruitt commended the attorneys in his office for diligent work to complete this ballot title in an efficient manner.
“While my office has done its part by preparing the ballot title well before the Sept. 1 deadline, there are still steps remaining in order for the question to be placed on a ballot,” Pruitt said.
“We are dealing with processes established in both federal and state election law for initiatives proposed by the people that require specific procedures to be followed,” he said. “Even with expedited efforts of both the Secretary of State’s Office to count the signatures and my office to write the ballot title, the state is running up against deadlines imposed by this process.
“It’s important for the people of Oklahoma to know, regardless of the substance of the state question, the signatures were not submitted with enough time to allow this process to be played out completely.”
Pruitt’s office earlier this month determined that the ballot title submitted by supporters was deficient.
After the Attorney General’s Office submits the substitute ballot title to the Secretary of State, it must be published. Opponents have 10 business days to object to the ballot title based on the validity or number of signatures or a challenge to the ballot title.
Gov. Mary Fallin cannot issue the proclamation placing State Question 788 on the ballot until the timeline for objections and protests has passed, according to Pruitt’s office.
The State Election Board has indicated it needs all of the ballot materials by Friday for measures to appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.
If State Question 788 is not on the Nov. 8 ballot, it could be placed on a special election ballot or the 2018 primary or general election ballot.