Arkansas Supreme Court mandates adult-use measure be included on November ballot
A legalization ballot measure is officially headed to Arkansas voters after the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned a decision by the state Board of Election Commissioners to disallow the measure based on its title and ordered the secretary of state to place the proposed amendment on the November 8 ballot.
“The Board had no authority to decline to certify the ballot title to the Secretary of State, and its action is without legal effect,” wrote Associate Justice Robin F. Wynne for the majority.
The court decision came less than week after the secretary of state declared the measure insufficient because of the board’s decision.
According to the decision, the board did not certify the title because it found it “misleading” by omitting the fact that it would repeal the maximum THC per-portion limit in the amendment creating the state’s medical system, Amendment 98, as well as a handful of other reasons, such as not explaining that “requirements for child-resistant packaging and restrictions on advertising that appeals to children are already found in amendment 98 and gives the false impression that the proposed amendment will strengthen those protections” and “the ballot title omits the proposed amendment’s definition of an adult as a person twenty-one years of age or older.”
The court rejected that explanation, noting that a ballot title does not need to include every possible consequence or impact of the measure nor anticipate every legal issue.
“Respondents and Intervenors have not met their burden of proving that the ballot title is insufficient,” Wynne wrote. “The people will decide whether to approve the proposed amendment in November.”
If passed, the initiative would create an adult-use cannabis industry throughout the state, with a limit on the number of cannabis licenses to 20 cultivators and 120 dispensaries statewide, including existing medical marijuana licenses.
— Brian Beckley