Hoping to join the nine states that have fully legalized the use of marijuana — whether in medical applications or simply getting high for personal enjoyment — workers for Oklahoma's Green the Vote initiative are petitioning residents in the 46th state to have an amendment added to the November 6 ballot that will codify pot at the constitutional level, preventing lawmakers from changing or eliminating rules surrounding the plant's use
Unsuccessful in previous attempts but inspired by gains made in neighboring states, Oklahomans seeking to overturn the conservative state's pot laws have noted the profound tax revenue increases in the sale of recreational marijuana, and are seeking to embed the right to pot use with the state's constitution.
The group's leader, Isaac Caviness, observed that a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana would prevent legislators from meddling with state law.
"Oklahoma's constitutional amendments can't be changed or even made a constitutional amendment without going before a vote of the people," Caviness said, cited by Tulsa World.
"That's the biggest protection that we have," he noted, "against our lawmakers changing it to what they want versus what the people want."
While the use of medical marijuana has opened the door to relaxing rules surrounding the plant's use, revenue from pot sales has not been significant until its recreational use is legalized.
Advocates of pot legalization note that in Colorado, the sale of marijuana for medical applications saw some $9 million in tax revenues in 2013, while in 2014, the first year of recreational marijuana legalization, the state realized an estimated $76 million in tax revenue — including licenses and fees — according to the Washington Post.
Oklahoma's Green the Vote will have to work hard — and quickly — recording over 124,000 signatures to place the initiative on the ballot November ballot.