The Saga of Two Medical Marijuana Initiatives in Arkansas Continues

By Joe Klare

Yesterday, the Arkansas Supreme Court ended any chance of two separate medical marijuana being on the statewide ballot on November 8.

Arkansas voters would have seen Issue 6 and Issue 7 side by side on their ballots, with Issue 7 being the more robust of the two, allowing for many more qualifying conditions and allowing for home growing for those who live more than 20 miles from a dispensary.

Issue 7 is the measure that the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down of course, disqualifying some 12,000 signatures that had previously been approved by election officials, saying that supporters of the measure didn’t comply with laws regarding registration and reporting of paid canvassers.

Despite being opposed to Issue 7 — and Issue 6 for that matter — both Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe expressed reservations about a ballot measure being struck down so close to Election Day and worried about the confusion it would cause, wishing instead that voters had gotten a chance to decide on the matter themselves.

If anything, the confusion will likely suppress the medical marijuana vote even more. Maybe one day sick people won’t have to beg the government for the ability to choose their own medicine without being considered a criminal and having to rely on the black market for what helps their ailments the most.

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