Arkansas voters to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana

If approved, the measure would authorize the possession, personal use, and consumption of cannabis by adults.

Updated: September 24, 2022 - 11:15pm

Arkansas' November ballot will include a measure that would legalize recreational marijuana use.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled in favor of advocates that collected more than 190,000 signatures.

If approved, the measure would authorize the possession, personal use, and consumption of cannabis by adults. It will also authorize the cultivation and sale of cannabis by licensed commercial facilities and provide for the regulation of those facilities.

Responsible Growth Arkansas turned over the signatures to the secretary of state's office in July. While the Secretary of State certified the petition met the signature requirements, the board charged with certifying the popular name and ballot title of the amendment refused to certify it, according to the court ruling.

The board stated the ballot title was misleading and omitted facts that were material information voters needed to know when deciding how to vote on the issue.

Eddie Armstrong and Lance Huey with Responsible Growth Arkansas filed a petition asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to order the Secretary of State to certify the proposed amendment.

The court ruled this week the board did not have the authority to decline to certify the ballot title. It also ruled the ballot title was sufficient.

Two ballot-question committees, Save Arkansas from Epidemic and Safe and Secure Communities, contended the ballot title was insufficient, saying it omits the proposed amendment would repeal THC dosage limits in food and drink containing usable marijuana, does not explain requirements for child-resistant packaging and restrictions on advertising that appeals to children, and does not explain the potential effects on the industrial-hemp industry, among other things.

The court said the ballot title is not required to summarize existing law or "include every possible consequence or impact of a proposed measure, and it does not need to address or anticipate every possible legal issue."

"We have held that a ballot title is sufficient if it identifies the proposed act and fairly recites the general purpose," wrote Associate Justice Robin Wynne, who authored the ruling.

Wynne also said the court recognized it was "impossible" to prepare a ballot title that would suit everyone.

"Therefore, respondents and intervenors have not met their burden of proving that the ballot title is insufficient. The people will decide whether to approve the proposed amendment in November," Wynne wrote.

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