Arkansas Voters Likely to get a Chance to Vote on Medical Marijuana This Fall
An Arkansas initiative to legalize medical marijuana looks like it will qualify for the November ballot after supporters handed in 74,000 more signatures Monday. The group, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, needs 62,507 valid voter signatures to qualify and already has more than 36,000 qualified from a previous signature hand-in.
Which means they only need about 26,000 of the new 74,000 to be valid for the measure to make the ballot. Most ballot initiatives look for about a 50% success rate with valid signatures.
Melissa Fults, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said the group had learned more about the process after handing in its first batch of signatures. During the second round, the group made sure volunteers and paid canvassers were careful when checking that signers were indeed registered to vote.
"I don't think there's much of a chance we won't" qualify for the ballot, Fults said.
Supporters should find out by next week whether or not they were successful.
The ballot measure itself – The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act - would allow patients suffering from certain medical conditions to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. It would allow for a system of state-licensed non-profit dispensaries, and would allow patients or their caregivers to grow their own only if they are not within five miles of a dispensary. In that case, patients could grow up to six flowering plants and patients would be allowed to possess up to 2 ½ ounces of marijuana.
It would be easy to dismiss this attempt as a nice first try in a bible belt state, but considering the ease with which supporters gathered signatures, the vote may be close this fall. Arkansas could be the tipping point when it comes to medical marijuana in the southeastern part of the country.
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