Competing Legalization Campaigns Active in Arkansas

Two separate campaigns in Arkansas have started collecting signatures to put competing legalization questions on the November ballot.

Full story after the jump.

Arkansas canna-activists are circulating petitions for competing adult-use cannabis legalization proposals for the 2020 General Election ballot, 5 News reports. Both groups need to collect 89,151 valid signatures by July 3 to put the issue to voters and both claim to have already surpassed 10,000 signatures.

The measure backed by Arkansas for Cannabis Reform – the organization behind the state’s successful medical cannabis legalization bid in 2016 – would allow adults 21-and older to possess up to 4 ounces of flower, 2 ounces of concentrates or edibles (capped at 200 milligrams) and would allow individuals to cultivate six mature and six immature plants on their property. The proposal would require one retail dispensary per county – that doesn’t opt out – 30 per Congressional district, and one cultivation company per 250,000 residents. The proposal, a constitutional amendment, leaves rule and licensing promulgation to the Alcohol Beverage Control Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Although the amendment does not include a tax rate, it does direct 60 percent of the cannabis-derived revenues to pre-k and afterschool programs, and whatever remains, after funding the program, to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

The amendment by Arkansas True Grass does not include any of the cultivator or retailer restrictions included in the competing proposal, sets fees for those licenses at $500, and allows individuals to grow 12 plants and an unlimited number of seedlings. Their measure caps daily flower purchases at 4 ounces for Arkansans and 1 ounce of flower and 72 ounces of edibles for non-residents.

The True Grass proposal would automatically expunge low-level cannabis crimes, while the Arkansas for Cannabis Reform plan would support other, third-party expungement campaigns.

Laree Treece, a volunteer with Arkansas for Cannabis Reform said the recreational legalization campaign would be “an uphill battle” and that having a competing petition circulating in the state is “confusing people.”

In 2016, Arkansas voters approved the medical cannabis amendment 53 percent to 47 percent. Last year the state’s 14 medical dispensaries sold 4,200 pounds of cannabis worth $28.13 million.

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