Although there was hope that only a single initiative aimed at legalizing medical marijuana would appear on the Arkansas ballot this November, some advanced reports suggest that the voting public will have the opportunity to choose between two competing proposals that address the issue of cannabis medicine when they head out to the polls this fall.
Sources close to one of the campaigns confirmed in a recent report on Marijuana.com both the “Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act” and the “Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment” will go before the voters in the upcoming election.
As MERRY JANE reported last week, state officials had yet to determine whether the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment -- a second voter initiative brought to the table by Little Rock attorney David Couch -- had managed to collect the signatures necessary to advance to the ballot.
Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the organization pushing the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, has confirmed with Tom Angell that both campaigns are election bound.
Arkansans for Compassionate Care, whose proposal was certified for the ballot in July, said last week that it was nervous about sabotaging statewide legalization altogether by confusing the voters with two similar proposals. The group says it made several attempts, early on, to come together with Couch on a single, solid ballot measure to put before voters, but now the possibility of a consolidated effort is completely dead in the water.
“Despite several months of negotiations, the folks sponsoring and backing the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment chose to turn-in their remaining signatures to the state,” Shannon Steece, activist with the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, told MERRY JANE. “Once that happens, the state must honor the people’s wish.”
The biggest fear among the cannabis reform community is the two separate ballot measures will cause both to fail, while others wonder what is likely to happen if both find successful passage. Some report suggests that if both ballot measures were approved, the outcome of the issue would then be left up to the courts. Yet, no one really has any idea how this situation would be handled.