Voters Approve Road Tax, Defeat Marijuana, Financing Measures

by Roby Brock ( 2 views 

Arkansas voters approved a temporary half-cent sales tax for highways, while rejecting proposals to allow for medical marijuana and to give cities and counties more financing tools.

Issue No. 1 allows for a 10-year, temporary half-cent sales tax increase for four-lane highway construction and repairs. It passed with 58-42% support.

Issue No. 2 was defeated by a 56-44% margin.  The proposed constitutional amendment would authorize cities and counties to create districts for development and redevelopment projects that would be funded by bonds tied to a sales tax collected within the district. It would also authorize a municipality or county to issue bonds and levy a local sales and use tax for the purpose of retiring unfunded liabilities of closed local police and fire pension plans. And it would amend Amendment 78 of the Arkansas Constitution to provide that annual principal and interest payments on short-­term financing obligations could be paid for by general revenues or special revenues.

Issue No. 5 – the medical marijuana initiative – stirred the most passion among voters this election cycle. The proposal, which was defeated narrowly by a 51-49% margin, 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.