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Second Arkansas MMJ Campaign Gets Signature Extension; Majority Still Favor Program

Supporters of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment have been granted a 30-day extension to meet the signature requirements for ballot access, TVH 11 reports. The amendment would be the second medical cannabis initiative on November’s ballot — the competing Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act was approved earlier this month.

The proposed amendment by David Couch submitted a total 99,629 signatures, of which 72,309 were validated. The extension was granted because the number of signatures exceeded 75 percent of the requirements.

Melissa Fults, campaign director for Arkansas Compassionate Care, who led the AMCA campaign, suggested if Couch’s ballot bid is successful, it’s likely both fail. Key differences in the competing campaigns include tax thresholds and growing-your-own provisions.

According to a Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College poll released today, 58 percent of respondents said they would vote to allow medical marijuana sales in the state, with 34 percent opposed.

Dr. Jay Barth, professor of political science at Hendrix College, said the next few weeks will be crucial in determining the future of medical cannabis in the state because both campaigns would be vying for voter support.

“Although either (or both) may not get over the hurdles (having the sufficient number of valid signatures, etc.) to get there, both achieving the ballot would likely cause problems for the concept of medical marijuana because they would not only have to compete with one another, but would also have opposition from groups like the Arkansas Family Council that have already spoken out against the broadening of access to marijuana,” Barth wrote in his analysis.

The recent poll indicates less support overall for medical cannabis in Arkansas, as an August Talk Business & Politics/Hendrix College/Impact Management Group survey found 84 percent of registered voters supported its use.

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