The Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners on Wednesday rejected the popular name and ballot title for the cannabis legalization proposal, effectively blocking it from November ballots despite the proposal garnering enough voter signatures, the Associated Press reports. An attorney for Responsible Growth Arkansas, the group supporting the initiative, told the AP that it plans to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.
In rejecting the language, the commissioners said they didn’t think the title fully explained the proposed constitutional amendment, claiming that the measure would repeal the state’s current THC limit on medical cannabis products.
Responsible Growth Arkansas attorney Steve Lancaster told the AP that the board’s decision was unfair because it would require the title to go into too much detail.
“The type of detail that the board expected, or demanded in this case, would make our ballot title thousands and thousands of words long. That just simply is not workable for a ballot.” — Lancaster via the AP
The plan would allow Arkansans to possess up to an ounce of cannabis while increasing the number of cannabis cultivators from the eight currently allowed under the state’s medical cannabis system to 20, and the number of dispensaries from 40 to 120. There are no home grows allowed under the proposal, which would also eliminate the state’s medical cannabis tax and levy the same amount – a 6.5% sales tax and a 4% excise tax – on adult-use cannabis products. Those funds would be used for drug courts, health care research, and a “stipend” for law enforcement.
The measure is opposed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is term-limited and not seeking reelection. It is supported by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Jones, while Republican nominee Sarah Sanders has not stated her position on the proposal.
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