Arkansans To Vote On Legalizing Cannabis This Fall As Supreme Court Clears Final Legal Hurdle

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that voters can decide whether to legalize recreational cannabis after all, overturning a decision by the Board of Election Commissioners that had banned a proposed amendment from reaching the November ballot, reported the Associated Press.

"We give the ballot title a liberal construction and interpretation in order that it secure the purposes of reserving to the people this power," the court said. "And we recognize that it is impossible to prepare a ballot title that would suit everyone. With these standards in mind, we conclude that the ballot title at issue is complete enough to convey an intelligible idea of the scope and import of the proposed amendment."

Background

After securing more than enough valid signatures, the proposed initiative to legalize recreational marijuana was turned down by the State Board of Election Commissioners in early August.

The commissioners said they rejected the measure because the ballot title was unclear regarding its impact, with the main issue being the level of THC in cannabis edibles.

Governor Asa Hutchinson encouraged law enforcement shortly after to "stand firm" against marijuana legalization, saying, "Marijuana is a harmful drug."

Responsible Growth Arkansas, the organization behind the ballot initiative, took the issue to court to fight for the will of the people who'd signed the petition.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered that the secretary of state clarify the number of petitions it received for the proposed amendment that would legalize adult-use cannabis. The question was already printed on the ballot, but it was up to the court to decide if the vote would go forward in November.

Arkansas Wants Marijuana Legalized

Meanwhile, support among Arkansans continues to grow despite powerful opposition from the state's governor and conservative officials who attempt to convince voters to say 'NO' to the cannabis legalization initiative.

A recent survey showed that 59% of Arkansas voters support the ballot measure, with only 29% opposing it.

If voters approve the initiative this fall, Arkansas will legalize the possession, personal use and consumption of cannabis for adults 21 and older, as well as cultivation and sale by licensed commercial establishments.

Photo: Courtesy of underworld and Sean Pavone by Shutterstock

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