OKLAHOMA CITY — Recreational marijuana supporters haven’t given up a desire to get the issue on the ballot, despite having a steeper hill to climb following the Nov. 6 election.
Increased voter turnout resulted in a larger number of signatures required for a citizen-led effort to change a law or amend the constitution.
Voters cast 824,831 votes for governor in 2014, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board.
The figure rose to 1,186,385 in the most recent gubernatorial election Nov. 6, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board.
The signature requirements for ballot initiatives are based on a percentage of the number of votes cast in a gubernatorial election.
“After every election, we have to recalculate those,” said Bryan Dean, as spokesman for the Oklahoma State Election Board. “It used to be some were based on the gubernatorial election and some were based on the presidential election.
“But the law recently changed to tie them directly to the gubernatorial figures. That made it a little more simple.”
Initiative petitions for statutory changes require 8 percent to get on the ballot.
The previous requirement was 65,987 signatures. The new threshold is 94,911.
Initiatives seeking to amend the state constitution previously required 123,725 signatures. The new amount is 177,958 signatures.
The threshold is 15 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.
Voters on June 26 approved State Question 788 to allow the use of medical marijuana following the circulation of a petition seeking a statutory change.
Voters cast 507,582 ballots in favor of it and 385,176 against it.
A second petition seeking to make a constitutional change to legalize recreational marijuana by means of State Question 797 failed to secure the required signatures to get the issue on the ballot.
The Secretary of State’s office counted a total of 102,814 for State Question 797, well short of the 123,725 signatures required at the time to get it on the ballot.
The petition was circulated by Green the Vote.
Chris Moe, a Green the Vote spokesman, said the increased threshold will not deter future efforts to get legalization of recreational marijuana on the ballot and the effort is not dead.
“I think 507,000 (votes for medical marijuana) made it clear we can overcome when we unite,” Moe said.
He said the new requirement of 177,958 signatures for a constitutional amendment to be put on the ballot is not impossible.