Election 2016: How Arkansas Screwed the Pooch
A medical marijuana initiative in Arkansas cleared two recent legal hurdles but still faces a tough race on Election Day.
And this time, legalization advocates have no one to blame but themselves: An internecine fight has made for bad blood between two pro-reform camps.
The result: Two competing measures on the ballot, confusing and seemingly splitting support in a state where the prohibition laws are among the harshest in the country.
“We have been fighting for five years to get this passed,” Melissa Fults, the campaign director with Arkansans for Compassionate Care, told HIGH TIMES. Her organization is sponsoring the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, an initiative that was the first to qualify for the ballot—and had the promised support of the Marijuana Policy Project, which can funnel important money into a state race. “Prior to having two initiatives on the ballot we were looking at a huge win, and now we are struggling for a win.”
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Growing Pains as California Counties License Growers
Many rural California communities have high expectations over the prospect of commercial cannabis cultivation, officially licensed by local authorities under provisions of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MMRCA), which was passed by Sacramento last year. Humboldt County issued its first commercial cultivation licenses this summer. Now a less likely entry, Kern County in the conservative southern end of the Central Valley, has seen its first licenses. These were issued by the municipality of California City, where officials expressed some surprise at their own actions. “It’s a new industry for us. It kind of came and dropped in our laps,” city manager Tom Weil told Bakersfield’s KBAK. “It’s not something we were looking for.”
At least 15 cultivation sites in California City are to be granted permits, for starters. “We don’t have a lot of retail here,” said Weil. “But we expect with this business coming in that it will generate more jobs, more opportunity, more demand for retail.”
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