Nicolas Henderson

Second Arkansas Medical Cannabis Campaign Submits Enough Signatures for Ballot Inclusion

The second potential ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas has submitted another 34,804 signatures, according to a TVH 11 report. The Arkansas United for Medical Marijuana proposal already had 72,309 verified, and needs a total of 84,859 signatures to qualify for inclusion on November ballots.

If the new batch of signatures is approved by Secretary of State Mark Martin, the proposal — a constitutional amendment — would be one of two choices for voters on the ballot. The measure would compete with the proposal by Arkansas Compassionate Care, which was approved last month.

The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, currently due to appear on the ballot, provides for 39 Cannabis Care Centers throughout the state, overseen by the state Department of Health. It includes a grow-your-own provision for patients living more than 20 miles from a care center.

The AUMA proposal would not allow patients to grow their own medicine.

Additionally, the AMCA requires that all of the sales tax revenue collected from the program be reinvested into the program; the AUMA amendment divvies up the profits between the program, the Skills Development Fund, the General Fund and the Vocational and Technical Training Special Revenue Fund.

David Couch, the AUMA proposal sponsor, said he would be “somewhat disappointed” if the plan didn’t hit 60 percent of voter support in the general election. However, advocates worry that both campaigns will be rejected by voters if each appears on the ballot, dealing another blow to patients in the state following the failure to pass a medical marijuana plan in 2012.         

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