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Okla. High Court Marijuana Ruling Provides Preemption Guide

Adult-use marijuana may be coming to Oklahoma sooner rather than later — barring any unforeseen events, legalization of marijuana for adult use will be on the state’s ballot this year.

On June 23, in the case of In re: State Question No. 807, Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected arguments that the proposed initiative was legally insufficient as preempted by federal laws making marijuana illegal. Interestingly, the court explained that state legalization of marijuana would not be “clearly or manifestly” unconstitutional as preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act, or CSA, despite the apparent conflict.

The Proposed Ballot Initiative

In December 2019, two Oklahomans filed State Question No. 807, or SQ 807,[1] a proposed ballot initiative that adds a new article to the Oklahoma Constitution — Article 31 — “which would generally legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults 21+ under state law.”[2]

Among other things, the new constitutional article (in proposed Section 15) provides for retroactive application of the legalization of marijuana for adult use — it would permit those convicted of once-criminal conduct made lawful by Article 31 to “file a petition for resentencing, reversal of conviction and dismissal of case, or modification of judgment and sentence before the trial court” in accordance with Article 31.[3]

Court Finds No “Positive Conflict” With the CSA

Shortly after the proposal was publicly filed, there was a proceeding brought before the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of SQ 807.  [Read More @ Duane Morris]

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