Cannabis in Arkansas: Governor says ‘vote NO’ to legalization, but Supreme Court decides

In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson said he would vote no on a ballot measure to legalize recreational cannabis in November, the Little Rock television station KATV reported.

“The science is clear” Hutchinson tweeted. “Recreational marijuana leads to increased underage drug use and more dangerous roads.”

“This November, I am voting NO on number 4 to legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas and I hope you will join me,” he continued, linking to the website of a anti-legalization advocacy group called “Safe and secure communities.”

What do safe and secure communities say?

Safe and secure communities recently filed a petition in the Arkansas Supreme Court arguing that a proposed constitutional amendment to be presented to voters was “misleading, fraudulent and illegal” under state law because the title of the ballot measure did not preserve the State medical THC limit.

“Studies prove [that ]the societal costs of legalized drugs far exceed the revenue from marijuana sales,” read their website. “Let’s keep Arkansas safe from this fate!”

In addition, Safe and secure communities published statistics that showed there was a 153% increase in fatal crashes in Colorado where the driver tested positive for marijuana.

The Role of Responsible Growth Arkansas

Responsible Growth Arkansas, the group behind the ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for adult useappealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court overturns decision by Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners barring proposed amendment to reach November ballot.

What happened: In August, the State Board of Election Commissioners rejected the amendment, citing the absence of certain guidelines. Specifically, the commissioner rejected the measure because the title of the ballot was not clear enough as to its impact, the main issue being the level of THC allowed in edible cannabis products.

In addition, an attorney for Responsible Growth Arkansas previously explained that the Arkansans “will be able to vote.” But what will happen in the meantime is that the Supreme Court will make its decision, and if they agree with us that our voting title is good, then the votes will count.

“Other, if the court decides that our voting title is not enough, they will never count those votes.”

What does the Supreme Court say?

Recently, the Arkansas Supreme Court directed that the Secretary of State clarify the number of petitions he has received for the proposed constitutional amendment which legalize cannabis for adult use.

The state Supreme Court ruled by Curiam review who said the court had issued an order to the office of the Secretary of State to decide the sufficiency of the proposed initiative petition, reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

“The Secretary of State is directed to file evidence of his decision by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14, 2022,” indicates the document.

Steve Lancasterlawyer of Responsible Growth Arkansassaid the order was a “procedural step” to seek clarification from the Secretary of State.

Lancaster went on to say that he remains confident that the court will decide to keep the recreational marijuana issue on the ballot. Moreover, he added“We see this as the court wanting to tick the box that the Secretary of State says the petition is sufficient or insufficient.”

The issue of legality of cannabis for adult use is already printed on the ballotbut it’s up to the court to decide whether the vote will count in November.

Photo: Courtesy of David Gabric On Unsplash

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