BY ANDREW DEMILLO
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court has disqualified a medical marijuana proposal from the November ballot, but voters will still be able to consider a competing plan.
In a 5-2 ruling Thursday with opponents of the proposed initiated act that would have allowed patients with certain medical conditions and a doctor’s recommendation to purchase marijuana from dispensaries. The proposal was one of two medical marijuana proposals on the ballot, and justices earlier this month rejected a challenge to a competing measure.
The ruling comes after early voting began Monday in Arkansas for the general election.
Justices tossed out more than 12,000 signatures that were approved by election officials for the proposal, saying supporters didn’t comply with laws regarding registration and reporting of paid canvassers. The decision left the group nearly 2,500 signatures shy of what was needed to qualify for the ballot.
The head of Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the group behind the measure, did not have an immediate comment on the decision.
Two justices disagreed with the opinion, noting that a retired judge assigned by the court to review the petitions had said more than enough valid signatures were submitted.
“The people should be permitted to vote on the initiative on November 8, and their votes should be counted,” Interim Chief Justice Howard Brill wrote in the dissenting opinion.
Both measures called for allowing patients with certain medical conditions to buy the drug, but they differed in their restrictions and regulations. For example, the proposal struck down Thursday would have allowed patients to grow their own marijuana if they didn’t live near a dispensary. The group behind the competing measure, Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana, last week began airing TV ads statewide in favor of its proposal.
Arkansas voters narrowly rejected a medical marijuana proposal four years ago despite national groups spending big in favor of legalization. National support for medical marijuana has grown since then, and half of U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized the drug in some fashion.
But the medical marijuana push faces more obstacles this year in Arkansas. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who headed the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, has spoken out against the measures. A coalition of the state’s most powerful lobbying groups – including the state Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Farm Bureau – have been campaigning against them.
The state Democratic Party’s platform includes general support for legalizing medical marijuana, but the platform is silent on the two ballot measures. The state’s Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, former federal prosecutor Conner Eldridge, has said he supports developing a “responsible” medical marijuana program nationally and in Arkansas, though he isn’t weighing in on the specific proposals.
Florida’s Largest Police Force Stops Detaining People Over Pot Smell
Beyond the Streets: Cannabis Isn’t the Only Counter Culture en Vogue
What’s in Your Stash? Sharon Letts, Producer, and Writer
Daniel Sloss: Sometimes They’re More Than Just Jokes
House Votes to Protect States With Legal Marijuana From Feds
Two Plead Guilty to Using United States Postal Service to Traffic Marijuana
Raid of Massive Illegal Cannabis Grow Site in California Took Four Days to Complete
Does Feeding the Endocannabinoid System Make Us Healthier?
News6 days ago
Someone Planted 34 Cannabis Plants in the Vermont Statehouse Flower Beds
Health3 days ago
Cannabis and Mental Health: Bipolar Disorder
News4 days ago
Notorious Drug Kingpin ‘El Chapo’ Sentenced to Life in Prison
Culture6 days ago
What’s in Your Stash? Autumn Saylor, Stay-at-Home Mom, Treating PTSD With Cannabis
Entertainment6 days ago
Recreational Cannabis Comes to Northern Nights Music Festival
Sponsored4 days ago
I Take CBD Oil. Will I Pass a Drug Test?
News4 days ago
West Hollywood Set To Get “First of Its Kind” Cannabis Café
Activism5 days ago
Navigating Child Protective Services When You Use Cannabis