Arkansas voters may have to choose between two separate ballot measures in the upcoming November election when trying to determine whether The Land of Opportunity should join the ranks of 25 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing medical marijuana.
Some of the latest reports indicate that the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA), which is fronted by Little Rock attorney David Couch, and the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (AMCA), a movement supported by Arkansans for Compassionate Care, could possibly face off in the polls later this fall – putting the voting public in a position of trying to make a decision over which proposal to give their support.
Although the AMMA still needs to be certified by Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office before it is officially permitted to advance to the ballot, Couch recently told Arkansas Online that he feels “confident” that his proposal will be moving on to the next phase of the campaign.
But the idea of competing measures going before the voters this year has supporters with the AMCA, which has been certified for the ballot since July, concerned that it could create enough confusion to completely sabotage the chances of legalizing medical marijuana altogether.
"The only thing we can do is educate people and tell them they have choices and just pray that they make the right choice," said Melissa Fults, campaign manager for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.
"I mean, that's all we can do. We don't intend to fail. It's going to make it much more difficult. We'll be fighting on two fronts, but I think we have enough heart and enough volunteers that we'll overcome it."
A similar situation took place last year in the Eastern tip of the nation when the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and Legalize Maine both ended up getting approved for the November 2016 ballot.
Eventually, the two groups’ worried that a fight over which pot proposal was the better choice would become the inevitable end to the overall goal of both campaigns -- bringing down prohibition in Maine. It is for that reason the two groups decided to form an alliance in order to bring a single solid recreational marijuana proposal to the voters.
So far, the Arkansas groups do not appear to be discussing the possibility of coming together on one solid proposal. However, there is a chance the issue could take a serious turn once it has been confirmed that Couch’s proposal has qualified for the ballot.