by Countable | 11.1.16
Half of U.S. states have enacted medical marijuana laws, and this November, Arkansas voters could amend their state’s constitution to create their own medical pot program.
This initiative would amend the state’s constitution to legalize the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for 17 debilitating medical conditions such as cancer, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, and chronic pain. It would allow Arkansans to establish marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities under state regulation.
State and local sales taxes would apply to medical marijuana sales, and this initiative specifies how that tax revenue would be spent. After covering administrative costs, half would go to the Vocational and Technical Training Special Revenue Fund, 30 percent would go to the General Fund, 10 percent would go to the workforce training programs, 5 percent to the Dept. of Health, 4 percent to Alcoholic Beverage Control, and 1 percent to the Medical Marijuana Commission. The Commission would be tasked with licensing and regulating dispensaries and cultivation facilities. It would ensure that there are between 20 and 40 dispensaries and between four and eight cultivation facilities licensed to operate in the state.
Municipalities would be able to ban marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities within their jurisdiction with voters’ approval.
If the state legislature wants to amend a portion of this law, it could do so by a two-thirds vote. However, the legislature cannot vote to make medical marijuana illegal again or change the set number of dispensaries; that would require another constitutional amendment.
This initiative will appear on Arkansas ballots on November 8 as "Issue 6."
Legalizing marijuana for medical use is a compassionate way of providing people with debilitating illnesses with alternative treatments so they don’t have to rely on pharmaceutical remedies that are less effective or have side effects.
Medical marijuana is unnecessary and leads to abuse by expanding access to the drug. There are plenty of synthetic substitutes that the pharmaceutical industry produces which have essentially the same effect as weed.
A more expansive, alternative medical marijuana initiative that would’ve given people with 56 different qualifying conditions the ability to be treated was expected to also be on the ballot in Arkansas as "Issue 7." But on October 27 (just two weeks before Election Day), the state supreme court said the initiative was illegitimate because of invalid signatures. While Issue 7 will appear on the ballot despite the ruling, the votes it receives won’t be tallied.
In 2012, Arkansas voters weighed in on a separate medical marijuana initiative and nearly legalized it, but supporters fell just shy of the majority they needed with 48.56 percent of the vote.
Twenty-five states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have enacted their own medical marijuana programs.
— Eric Revell
Written by Countable