This just in, a news release announcing approval of a medical marijuana proposal for general election.
This is one of three marijuana initiatives for which signatures are being gathered. Another medical marijuana initiative, without this one’s grow-your-own provision, is still being circulated. Its leader, Little Rock lawyer David Couch, told me late last week that believed he’d met the thresholds for signatures, at least as to required totals that should provide for a 30-day cure period should some be disqualified as not registered voters. A petition for full legalization is also circulating.
UPDATE: Couch said he would deliver his petitions to the secretary of state tomorrow, the deadline. He says polling still favors a measure without a grow-your-own provision.
Here’s the news release on the first to apparently clear the ballot, though I’ve yet to confirm this with the secretary of state. Also a challenge to the signatures could still be filed by an outside party. The Family Council tried unsuccessfully to block a 2012 marijuana measure and may try again this year.
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (July 7, 2016) — A citizen-driven initiative that would allow Arkansas doctors to recommend medical cannabis for sick and dying patients will be on the November ballot.
Mark Martin, the Secretary of State, confirmed today that Arkansans for Compassionate Care (ACC) collected 77,516 valid signatures—more than enough to place the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act on the ballot.
If voters approve the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, their state will join 25 others and Washington D.C. in allowing doctors to write recommendations for cannabis to alleviate specified medical conditions.
In 2012, ACC sponsored a similar act which came within two percent of becoming Arkansas state law. Support for the issue has only grown in the last four years, and a recent poll by Talk Business & Politics/Hendrix College indicates that nearly 60% of Arkansas voters approve of doctors being able to recommend cannabis as medicine for certain conditions.
This year, however, ACC is facing competition in the form of a second initiative, The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA).
“Unfortunately,” said Melissa Fults, ACC’s campaign director, “polling suggests that if both initiatives make the ballot, it’s almost certain that both will fail. Today, as we turn toward November, I’m asking Jason Polk & David Couch to end their campaign and join us to ensure sick and dying Arkansans get the most patient-oriented initiative we can. Please do not place thousands of sick and dying Arkansans’ future in jeopardy. Patients need safe and legal access to cannabis and if you continue we risk losing the best chance that we’ve ever had. Placing two initiatives on the ballot will cause both to fail.”
The AMCA allows doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients with certain debilitating or life-threatening medical conditions. This includes conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s—but more importantly, it includes devastating conditions left out of the AMMA like lupus, autism, and Parkinson’s disease.