Municipal filing, important elections scheduled

Next Tuesday, Jan. 10, there will be elections in several Oklahoma counties on county and municipal issues. None are scheduled in Woods County or surrounding counties. Probably the closest is for the City of Dover in Kingfisher County.

Municipal Filing Feb. 6-8

Filing for municipal offices will begin Monday, Feb. 6, at 8 a.m. and close Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 5 p.m. at county election boards.

In the City of Alva, offices up for election include the mayor, city clerk and city marshal along with Seat 2 in each of the four city council wards. Terms are for four years expiring in 2027.

Kelly Parker is the current mayor, Melody Theademan is city clerk and Jim Scribner is city marshal. On the city council, Seat 2 is held by Dr. Garrett Lahr in Ward 1, Gail Swallow in Ward 2, Sadie Bier in Ward 3 and Randy Stelling in Ward 4.

The municipal general election will be held April 4 which is also the date for the board of education primary election.

March 7 State Question

As of January 5, 2023, one statewide ballot measure was certified to appear on the 2023 ballot in the state of Oklahoma, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative.

According to Ballotpedia, proponents of State Question 820, a marijuana legalization initiative that initially targeted the 2022 ballot, submitted a sufficient number of signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. Due to legal challenges and statutory deadlines for ballot inclusion, the measure could not be placed on the 2022 ballot and was set to be voted on at a later election date. Governor Kevin Stitt (R) ordered the measure on the March 7, 2023, ballot.

A total of 71 measures appeared on statewide ballots in Oklahoma from 2000 to 2022, including five measures that appeared on the ballot during odd-numbered years. Of the measures, 74.65% (53 of 71) of the total number of measures that appeared on the statewide ballot were approved, and about 22.35% (18 of 71) were defeated.

Oklahoma State Question 820, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, is on the ballot in Oklahoma as an initiated state statute on March 7, 2023.

A "yes" vote supports legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 years old and older, allowing adults to possess up to one ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana and grow up to six mature marijuana plants and up to six seedlings, and enacting a tax on marijuana sales.

A "no" vote opposes legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use in Oklahoma.

State Question 820 would legalize marijuana for adults 21 years old and older. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority would be responsible for marijuana business licensing and regulations. Individuals would be allowed to possess, transport, and distribute up to one ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana, eight grams of marijuana in a concentrated form, and/or eight grams or less of concentrated marijuana in marijuana-infused products. Marijuana sales would be taxed at 15%. Under the initiative, individuals could possess up to six mature marijuana plants and up to six seedlings. The initiative would also provide a process for individuals to seek the expungement or modification of certain previous marijuana-related convictions or sentences.

Tax revenue generated from marijuana sales would be used to finance the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority's implementation of the initiative with remaining funds to be appropriated as follows:

• 30% to the state general fund;

• 30% to grants for public school programs to support student retention and performance, after-school and enrichment programs, and substance abuse prevention programs;

• 20% to grants for government agencies and not-for-profit organizations to fund drug addiction treatment and overdose prevention programs;

• 10% to the state judicial revolving fund; and

• 10% to the municipalities or counties where the marijuana was sold.

Going into the election, 21 states and Washington, D.C., had legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

In 12 states and D.C., the ballot initiative process was used to legalize marijuana.

In two states, the legislature referred a measure to the ballot for voter approval.

In seven states, bills to legalize marijuana were enacted into law.

Marijuana legalization measures were on the 2022 ballot in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The measures were approved in Maryland and Missouri and were defeated in Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

April 4 Board of Education, Municipal Elections

During the board of education filing period Dec. 5-7, five people filed for positions in Woods County. Three were unopposed. Only Alva will have a race listed on the ballot. Tiffany Slater of Dacoma currently serves in Office No. 3 on the Alva Board of Education. Her opponent in the April 4 election is Kevin Pingelton who has a rural Alva address.

Those who filed unopposed are Kyle Rhodes for Office No. 1 at Freedom, John Hanson for Office No. 3 at Waynoka and Lary Weeks of Aline who filed for the Northwest Tech Center Office No. 3 position.

Any municipal races from the Feb. 6-8 filing will also appear on the April 4 ballot.


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