Arkansas Court Disqualifies The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (Issue 7)
The Arkansas Supreme Court has disqualified The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (a.k.a. Issue 7) from the upcoming ballot. This November, 9 states will vote on legalizing either medical or recreational marijuana. Arkansas was unique in that their state ballot will include two separate initiatives – Issue 7 and Issue 6 (a.k.a. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment).
The two initiatives had some distinct differences, particularly in terms of the total number of dispensaries allowed, home cultivation, and qualifying conditions:
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According to 40/29 News, “The court invalidated Issue 7 because it found that supporters did not gather enough qualified signatures. The court disallowed more than 12,000 signatures, leaving 65,412 valid signatures. That fell 2,465 short of the required number.”
The court cited five reasons behind their decision to disqualify Issue 7:
- Some of the petition gatherers did not comply with Arkansas laws on who can become a canvasser.
- The signatures did not include an address, or included only a P.O. Box address.
- The canvasser verified the petition before the voter signed it.
- The canvasser checked an improper box.
- Canvassers did not specifically witness the signatures.
It’s worth noting that although The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act has been disqualified, it will still appear on the Arkansas ballot. This could be very confusing for some voters. It’s also been estimated that 142,000 residents have already cast their ballots through early voting which began on October 24th, four days before the court made their decision to disqualify Issue 7. Perhaps the only silver lining is that Arkansas residents still have the option to vote “yes” on Issue 6, which could at least open up the door to broader future initiatives.
In 2012, a similar initiative failed to pass, just narrowly missing a majority vote. This year, Arkansas cannabis advocates feared that having two medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot could increase the likelihood that both would fail. Now that Arkansas only has one initiative to vote on, hopefully it increases the odds of Issue 6 passing.