And then there was one.
The Arkansas Supreme Court handed down a verdict on Thursday that disqualifies one of the medical marijuana ballot measures set to go before the voters in the November election.
In a ruling of 5-to-2, the justices said the initiative supported by Arkansas for Compassionate Care (Issue 7) could no longer be put up for a vote because the organization failed to adhere to the rules during the signature collecting process of its campaign. The decision eliminated somewhere around 12,000 signatures, which put the group 2,500 signatures short of making the ballot, reports the Associated Press.
Interestingly, on Monday, just as the voters began casting early ballots, Arkansans for Compassionate Care reported, “polling place misconduct” on its Facebook page. The post suggested that it “already had reports of poll workers telling voters that Issue 7 is not on the ballot or that votes won't count.” The organization said this was “not true,” and asked those who encountered a poll worker spreading this rumor to file a complaint with the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners.
On Thursday, MERRY JANE attempted to contact Arkansans for Compassionate Care for comment on the Supreme Court ruling, but that inquiry has yet to generate a response.
What is known for certain is that a competing medical marijuana initiative supported by Little Rock attorney David Couch is still set to go before the voters in the next 12 days. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (Issue 6) would legalize medical marijuana for a variety of conditions, allowing cannabis to be sold in dispensaries all across the state.
"It eliminates some of the confusion on which one to vote for," Couch told AP. "If you want to help sick and dying patients in Arkansas, then you have to vote for (Issue 6)."
However, if Issue 6 fails to win majority approval, like a similar measure did a few years ago, State Representative Dan Douglas, who opposes Issue 6, says he will go into the next legislative session armed with a proposal aimed at legalizing a low-THC program.
Governor Asa Hutchinson, who has also spoken out against the marijuana ballot measure, says he is aware of Douglas’ proposal but is still not sure whether he would give it his support.