Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Will Prez Trump's pledge to safeguard states' marijuana reforms boost Oklahoma's medical marijuana initiative?

OK-Yes-788November is the usual month for big votes on marijuana reform, and it seems likely that voters in Michigan and Utah will be considering ballot initiative at the usual voting time.  (In Michigan, voters will be considering recreational marijuana reform; in Utah, a medical marijuana reform issue is likely to make the ballot.)  Interestingly, though, this election year voters in Oklahoma will be deciding on the fate of its marijuana initiative, Question 788, on June 26, 2018.  Question 788 seeks to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program for the state, and I have long thought that the seeming opposition to any marijuana reform by the Trump Administration might be a big issue in a state in which Donald Trump carried over 65% of the vote in 2016.

But, as discussed in this post, on Friday, President Donald Trump gave Colorado Senator Cory Gardner his word that he would protect state marijuana reform efforts.  So, while in the past it seems opponents of marijuana reform in Oklahoma could point to actions and words of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to advocate against state voters embracing Question 788, now it would seem proponents of Question 788 can (and likely should) argue that Prez Donald Trump is supportive of state marijuana reform efforts.

Ultimately, who turns out to vote in Oklahoma on June 26, 2018 will likely decide the fate of Question 788 more so than any particular statements by any federal officials.  Nevertheless, I think it interesting to think of all the possible ripple effects for on-going marijuana reform efforts flowing from Senator Gardner's ability to get Prez Trump to commit to safeguarding states' rights in this arena.

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