Cannabis In Arkansas: Gov. Says 'Vote NO' To Legalization, But That's Up To The Supreme Court

In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he will vote no on a ballot measure to legalize recreational cannabis in November, reported Little Rock TV station KATV.

"The science is clear," Hutchinson tweeted. "Recreational marijuana leads to increased drug use among minors and more dangerous roadways."

“This November, I’m voting NO on Issue 4 to legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas and I hope you’ll join me,” he continued linking to a website for an anti-legalization advocacy group called "Safe and Secure Communities."

What Does Safe And Secure Communities Say?

Safe and Secure Communities recently filed a motion in the Arkansas Supreme Court arguing that a proposed constitutional amendment to present to voters was "misleading, fraudulent, and illegal" under state law because the title of the ballot measure did not preserve the state's medical THC limit.

"Studies prove [that ]the societal costs of legalized drugs far outweigh the revenue marijuana sales bring," reads their website. "Let's keep Arkansas safe from this fate!"

Moreover, Safe and Secure Communities published statistics that showed there was a 153% rise 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 adult-use cannabis, has filed an appeal with the Arkansas Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners that prohibit the proposed amendment to reach the November ballot.

What Happened: In August, the State Board of Election Commissioners dismissed the amendment, citing a lack of certain guidelines. More precisely, the commissioner rejected the measure because the ballot title not read clear enough in terms of its impact, with the main issue being the level of THC allowed in cannabis edibles.

Moreover, an attorney for Responsible Growth Arkansas previously explained that Arkansans will “be able to cast a vote. But what’s going to happen in the interim is the Supreme Court will make its decision, and if they agree with us that our ballot title is good, then the votes will count.

“Otherwise, if the court decides that our ballot title is not sufficient, they’ll just never count those votes.”

What Does The Supreme Court Say?

Recently, the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered that the secretary of state clarify the number of petitions it received for the proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize adult-use cannabis.

The State Supreme Court ruled its per Curiam opinion that stated the court had issued a order to the secretary of state's office to decide the sufficiency of the proposed initiative petition, reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

"The Secretary of State is ordered to file proof of his decision by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14, 2022," the document states.

Steve Lancaster, counsel for Responsible Growth Arkansas, said the order was a "procedural step" to get clarification from the secretary of state.

Lancaster continued saying that he remains confident the court will rule to keep the recreational marijuana issue on the ballot. In addition, he added: "We see this as the court wanting to check the box that the secretary of state either says the petition is sufficient or insufficient.”

The question of adult-use cannabis's legality is already printed on the ballot, but it's up to the court to decide if the vote will count in November.

Photo: Courtesy Of David Gabrić On Unsplash

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralArkansas Supreme CourtGov. Asa HutchinsonResponsible Growth ArkansasSafe and Secure CommunitiesState Board of Election CommissionersSteve Lancaster
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