Vote To Legalise Recreational Marijuana In Arkansas Is Rejected By State Panel

A panel in Arkansas has decided that a recreational marijuana initiative cannot appear on the state’s ballot this autumn.

On Wednesday, the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners voted to prevent a measure to legalise recreational marijuana from appearing on the state’s ballot this autumn.

The constitutional amendment that its backers had wanted to put on the ballot in November had its preferred name and ballot title rejected by the commission. Despite gathering more than enough signatures from eligible voters, the measure still needed board approval before it could appear on the ballot.

In 2016, Arkansans voted to modify the state constitution to allow the use of medicinal marijuana. With this proposed change, adults over the age of 21 would be legally permitted to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and sales of recreational marijuana would be legalised in dispensaries that have received state approval.

An attorney for the group responsible for the plan, Responsible Growth Arkansas, has stated that they intend to file an appeal with the state Supreme Court.

Also read – Decriminalizing Cannabis Has Merit, And It Should Be Regulated

In their decision, the commissioners cited their belief that the ballot title did not provide sufficient information to voters about the amendment’s implications and thus rejected the initiative. Commissioners expressed worry, for instance, that the amendment would nullify the state’s current limit on the amount of THC allowed in edible marijuana products, as established by its medical marijuana amendment.

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

Respectful Expansion Attorney Steve Lancaster of Arkansas argued that the board’s criticism was unjustified because it would demand an excessive amount of detail in the ballot title.

The amount of specificity that the board requested or required in this instance would make our ballot title many thousands of words long. Following the vote, Steve Lancaster addressed the media. You can’t have a ballot that does that.

Nineteen states have passed laws decriminalizing marijuana for recreational use, and ballot initiatives to legalize the drug will appear in South Dakota and Maryland this November. Missouri, North Dakota, and Oklahoma all have supporters working to get ballot initiatives on their respective ballots.

Also read – Booker Proposes a “Compromise” on Cannabis Banking

Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, a former chief of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, was not in favor of the plan. Chris Jones, a Democratic candidate for governor, endorsed the bill on Wednesday. Sarah Sanders, the Republican nominee, has been mum on the matter. Due to term limits, Hutchinson will not be running for re-election this November.

The board also shot down an amendment that would have limited the casino gaming initiative voters adopted in 2018 by removing one of the four counties where casinos are permitted.

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