The campaign seeking to legalize cannabis in Arkansas last week submitted more than 192,000 petition signatures and ballot titles to the secretary of state’s office for certification, the Arkansas Times reports. The signature total is 100,000 more than the 89,151 valid signatures required to put the issue to voters in November.
The proposal by Responsible Growth Arkansas would legalize cannabis for adults 21-and-older while increasing the number of cultivators in the state from the eight allowed under the state’s medical cannabis law to 20 and the number of dispensaries from 40 to 120. The plan would not allow Arkansans to cultivate their own cannabis.
Additionally, if approved, the state’s medical cannabis tax would be eliminated but the same tax rates – a 6.50% sales tax and 4% excise tax – would be applied to adult-use sales. The tax revenue would be used for the state’s general revenues as well as health care research, drug courts, and a stipend for law enforcement.
Steve Lancaster, co-counsel for the cannabis industry-backed group, told the Times that he is “completely confident it will pass.”
“Assuming we get to the ballot, and we’re confident on that, I think, come November, we’ll pass this thing.” — Lancaster to the Times
The signatures still need to be verified; however, in May group Chairman Eddie Armstrong told the Times that the group had verified more than 65,000 signatures. By law, the secretary of state has 30 days to verify the signatures.
Melissa Fults, the treasurer of the state chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), told the Times that the group would oppose the initiative, describing it as benefitting a small group of people and “greed on top of greed on top of greed.”
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