Arkansas Cannabis Legalization Ballot Struck Down Despite Securing More Than Enough Signatures — Here’s Why


By Jelena Martinovic

A proposed measure to legalize recreational cannabis in Arkansas was blocked from appearing on the state’s ballot this November. The State Board of Election Commissioners rejected the ballot title and popular name of the proposition after receiving enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, reported Associated Press.

The commissioner rejected the measure on the grounds that the ballot title is not clear enough when it comes to the impact of the amendment, citing the issue of the level of THC allowed in edible marijuana products.

Photo by Tara Winstead via Pexels

“If I’m a voter, I might be all for this, but I’d like to safeguard that edible limit,” Commissioner J. Harmon Smith said.

Under the proposed amendment, people aged 21 and older could legally possess up to an ounce of cannabis, while state-licensed dispensaries would be approved to sell recreational marijuana.

Eddie Armstrong, former Arkansas Democratic House minority leader and head of the activists’ group Responsible Growth Arkansas, submitted the petitions to the secretary of state’s office last month. He said recently that they’d collected more than twice the number of signatures needed to qualify the proposal for this year’s general election.

“Because of the time frame to get this done, they stopped at 90,000 verified signatures and now have moved on to the casino petition,” Kevin Niehaus, a spokesman for the Arkansas secretary of state’s office, said. “Knowing how many signatures they still had left to go and with it already reaching 90,000 signatures, they felt comfortable saying they made it.”

In July, the activists filed petitions containing 192,828 voter signatures supporting the marijuana legalization amendment.

What’s Next?

Responsible Growth Arkansas’ attorney Steve Lancaster plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

“The type of detail that the board expected, or demanded in this case, would make our ballot title thousands and thousands of words long,” Lancaster told reporters following the vote. “That just simply is not workable for a ballot.”

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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