A commercially grown cannabis plant covered in white crystals/trichomes.

Sarah Climaco

Arkansas AG Denies Adult-Use Ballot Initiative Over Language ‘Ambiguities’

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected a proposed cannabis legalization ballot initiative over “ambiguities” in the measure which she claims are “sufficiently serious” enough to prevent the campaign from ballot consideration.

In the Oct. 6 letter to Mary L. Berry, the named petitioner for the Summit-based Arkansas True Grass Ballot Committee, Rutledge says the ambiguities are related to the terms “carry/carrying on” and “personal effect” which the attorney general claims “are defined more or less interchangeably, which makes them ambiguous when used together.”

“If the definitions for these terms are substituted for the terms as they appear in section 4 (‘carrying on one’s personal effect’), the result would be: ‘having possession of an item on one’s body on one’s item that one has in one’s possession that one wears or has possession of on one’s body,’” she wrote in the letter. “This phrase is nonsensical and redundant.”

While she agreed that the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment would allow citizens to grow up to 25 mature and 25 immature plants, she questioned what would happen if an immature plant matures while the cultivator has already 25 mature plants, concluding that “it is reasonable to conclude that growing 26 or more mature plants would be illegal.”

“It is likewise unclear what would be required of a cultivator who has 25 mature plants and 25 non-mature plants,” she wrote. “Once any of the non-mature plants became a mature plant, this cultivator would be out of compliance with section 4(a) (under one interpretation of the text).”

Moreover, Rutledge argued that sections regarding the number of cultivation locations registered and how many entities could register as cultivators needed clarification due to ambiguous language.

“The ambiguities noted above are not necessarily all the ambiguities contained in your proposal, but they are sufficiently serious to require me to reject your popular name and ballot title,” she wrote in the denial letter. “I am unable to substitute language in a ballot title for your measure due to these ambiguities. Further, additional ambiguities may come to light on review of any revisions of your proposal.”

The proposal aimed for consideration on 2018 election ballots.

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