Arkansas Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge, stood up for proper grammar and spelling when she rejected a proposed constitutional amendment this past week. Marry Barry, resident of Summit, Arkansas, wrote the amendment which called for legalization of cultivation, production, possession and use of cannabis and anything produced by the plant.
Attorney General Rutledge cited “errors of grammar, punctuation and spelling” as the reason for her rejection. One part of the constitutional amendment contained the phrase “any person eighteen (18) years of age and older.” Rutledge found the phrase problematic because the “and” should have been “or” instead.
Also, the phrase “all products derived from the cannabis plant” was too ambiguous for Rutledge since it could be misinterpreted and could create potential loopholes with other laws. The grammar issues didn’t stop there. Other grammatically incorrect phrases included were “state laws as it pertains to marijuana” and “number of license” which, according to Rutledge, incorrectly mixed singular and plural nouns, adjectives, and verbs. The grammar police had a field day.
Ms. Berry does have a chance to redeem herself, though. She must resubmit the measure and ballot title to be considered again. This is the second time Rutledge has rejected a proposal that proposed marijuana legalization in Arkansas, although the previous amendment wasn’t rejected for grammatical errors.
Arkansas history with cannabis hasn’t been completely dismissive. In 2012, Arkansas voted to not legalize marijuana with 48.56 percent of voters in favor of legalization. The younger demographic overwhelmingly favored legalization while the older demographic were more approving than in past years.
Currently, there is a campaign called “The 2016 Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act” which was certified by the Attorney General in 2014. They have collected 50,000 signatures so far. They are hoping to reach the required 65,000 valid, registered voter signatures to qualify for the 2016 ballot. The act provides for 38 non-profit Cannabis Care Centers across Arkansas. Counties and cities will have the option to restrict centers in their jurisdiction. Administration will be completely self-funded by the tax collected from cannabis medication.
In the meantime, first-time marijuana possession of fewer than four ounces leads to misdemeanor charges, a year in jail, and a maximum fine of $2,500 in Arkansas. Repeat offenders can expect to receive six years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.
The former governor of Arkansas and hopeful Republican presidential nominee, Mike Huckabee, won pro-legalization organization’s favor when he openly came out against the government enforcing prohibition in states that currently had medical and recreational laws.
The current states that legalized marijuana use are Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Here’s hoping for Arkansas to join the movement soon.