Melissa Fults, a board member of Arkansas NORML and a medical marijuana patient advocate, withdrew her adult-use cannabis amendment petition preferring to wait until the 2024 elections, giving her time to focus on other recreational proposals she disagrees with, reported the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Fults filed the Arkansas Adult Use and Expungement Marijuana Amendment in November, under which cannabis possession for adults would be legal and those with certain cannabis-related misdemeanors or felony convictions would be allowed to petition the courts for relief.
In a recent interview, she revealed her intention to fight against the Arkansas Adult-Use Cannabis Amendment, which is sponsored by a ballot question committee and financially backed by current medical marijuana growers.
“We’ve been working so hard trying to stop the cultivators,” Fults said. “You can’t fight on that many fronts.”
According to Fults, that amendment would enable large-scale growers to benefit while forcing out smaller cultivators and damaging the medical program. She further condemned the amendment for failing to include an expungement provision for people with criminal records over minor weed-related charges.
Fults said there are many volunteers ready to fight against the amendment.
Her measure would enable enough cannabis companies to meet Arkansas’ demands. Whereas, the amendment supported by Responsible Growth Arkansas would grant first cultivation and dispensary licenses to current operators, according to Fults.
Responsible Growth Arkansas chairman Eddie Armstrong responded to Fults’ criticism by saying that it urges his group to improve on the proposal. According to Armstrong, the amendment would benefit medical marijuana patients by lowering prices and meeting their needs.
“The industry is a new industry, so there are lots of bumps and bruises along the way when you’re building something new,” Armstrong said.
He noted that the petition already has over 50,000 valid signatures.
A third recreational marijuana proposal, Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment is also likely to get postponed until 2024, according to a spokeswoman for Arkansas True Grass, a group behind it. That amendment aims to allow for the automatic release of those incarcerated over cannabis-related charges and would not cap the number of marijuana operators.