There is a good chance that voters of Arkansas will have the opportunity to legalize medical marijuana this November. The campaign Arkansans for Compassionate Care has recently turned into the Secretary of State’s office an additional 74,000 signatures, which the campaign believes is more than enough to get their initiative to qualify.
In Arkansas it takes 62,507 valid signatures to get an statute on the ballot. Earlier this year the campaign turned in just over 65,000 signatures, but only about 56 percent were determined to be valid. Arkansas law does, though, allow a campaign to take up to 30 days gathering additional signatures if their first round of signatures is found to be insufficient, so the campaign followed up. Assuming this new batch of roughly 74,000 signatures is found to be valid at a similar rate, the initiative should easily cross the threshold. We should likely hear next from the Secretary of State if the initiative officially made the ballot.
If it is approved by voters this November, this initiative would make the medical use of marijuana legal under state law. To be able to use the program, patients would be required to submit to the state proof that they suffer from one of the listed qualified medical marijuana conditions. The initiative would also allow for the establishment of small non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries.
If this initiative makes the ballot in Arkansas, it will potentially be the third state this year to vote on legalizing medical marijuana. Last month a similar medical marijuana initiative qualified for the November ballot in Massachusetts, and last week North Dakotans for Compassionate Care turned in what should be enough signatures to get their medical marijuana initiative on the ballot.