Arkansans will decide whether or not to allow for legalized medicinal marijuana this November.
A group pushing for passage of the measure was notified by Secretary of State Mark Martin (R) on Wednesday (Aug. 22) that it had qualified for the November ballot after turning in an additional 74,000 signatures on petitions.
The group, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, submitted enough valid voter signatures to qualify the initiated act for voter consideration this fall.
“Compassionate care is an important issue for thousands of Arkansans and their families. This is something the people of Arkansas want to discuss. We’ve always been a leader in the South and now we’re the first one to put medical marijuana on the ballot and have a real discussion about it,” said Melissa Fults, Treasurer for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.
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%.
If voters approve the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, Arkansas will join 17 other states and Washington D.C. in allowing doctors to write recommendations for marijuana to alleviate specified medical conditions.
The Arkansas Act is largely based on the medical marijuana law in Maine that passed in 2009.