A group pushing to legalize medicinal marijuana turned in an additional 74,406 signatures today in what supporters hoped would be enough to qualify the proposal for the November ballot.
The group, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, fell about 26,000 signatures short of a required 62,507 valid voter signatures on July 6. With the new collection effort, their odds are good that the proposal will qualify for voter consideration.
The medical marijuana proposal would allow for up to 30 nonprofit dispensaries in Arkansas. Local cities and counties could choose to ban them.
Marijuana would only be available to people with a prescription for certain health conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDs, Alzheimer’s disease and several other conditions. The proposal allows for a patient to have up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana without the threat of prosecution.
A Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll taken Thursday, July 19 among 585 likely Arkansas voters found that 47% supported the medicinal marijuana proposal, while 46% said they opposed it. About 7% were undecided. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4%.
The Secretary of State’s office must validate the voter signatures submitted today. If it meets the threshold, the measure will be on the November ballot for consideration.
Two other citizen initiatives may still qualify for the ballot, too.
Former natural gas executive Sheffield Nelson has until Aug. 20 to submit additional signatures for his proposal to raise the state’s severance tax. Nancy Todd has until Aug. 22 to submit additional signatures for a possible expansion of casinos in Arkansas.