Arkansas Calls for Cannabis Reform

A group of Arkansas activists for cannabis reform is entering the realm of cannabis legalization on Arkansas’ ballot for 2022. The group registered a new cannabis reform initiative late last week.

Arkansans for Cannabis Reform conferred the recommended constitutional amendment to the secretary of state’s office. It would support adults 21 and older to possess up to 4 oz. of cannabis flower, 2 oz. of cannabis concentrates, and cultivate up to six mature cannabis plants and six seedlings for private use.

The Arkansas state Department of Finance and Administration would manage the program and dispense cannabis business licenses. They would have to issue at least one retail license per 15,000 Arkansans. No individual or entity could hold more than one cannabis cultivation and one cannabis dispensary license. The Arkansas courts would be forced to relieve people with past convictions for possession or sales of up to 16 oz. of cannabis. Despite this, they would have some inclination as to whether relief legislates release from incarceration, expungements, or the refurbishment of voting rights.

Arkansans for Cannabis Reform isn’t an isolated group eyeing the 2022 ballot for bud reform.

In October, a former Arkansas legislator started directing a campaign to put cannabis legalization on Arkansas’ 2022 ballot. Eddie Armstrong (D-AK), who earlier served as minority leader in the state House of Representatives prior to leaving office a few years ago, is chairing the recently-formed support group Responsible Growth Arkansas. 

Another group of cannabis activists with Arkansas True Grass is already in the signature-gathering process for a 2022 ballot initiative that would implement a system of regulated sales for adults 21 and above, allowing consumers to purchase up to 4 oz. of cannabis. The law would also allow adults to cultivate as many as 12 plants for private use.

The legislature could impose a tax on adult-use cannabis products. However, a tax on medicinal cannabis is not anticipated. Currently, no specific tax rate is outlined in the Arkansas cannabis reform initiative. Nevertheless, it does specify after covering regulatory costs, and revenue would be distributed between K-12 education and extracurricular programs, University of Arkansas cancer research in conjunction with medicinal cannabis, and Arkansas’ general fund. The suggested split of these funds is 50-40-10, respectively.

Both Arkansans for Cannabis Reform and True Grass strived to put cannabis legalization and cannabis decriminalization initiatives on this year’s ballot. Yet, both campaigns were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic and neglected to collect enough stamps by the due date, despite a federal judge’s ruling in May of this year that the Arkansas Secretary of State needed to affirm signatures that were not assembled in person or notarized due to the troubles that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, cannabis reform activists are working diligently across the nation, looking to place drug reform policies before voters hit the booth in 2022. For instance, in South Dakota, the Secretary of State gave cannabis reform activist the go-ahead to start a signature-gathering campaign to put cannabis legalization and cannabis decriminalization initiative on SD’s ballot for next year. Oklahoma activists of cannabis reform registered a couple of 2022 ballot initiatives to approve adult-use cannabis and modernize the state’s current medicinal cannabis program. Nebraska cannabis activists began petitioning for a set of corresponding initiatives to legalize medicinal cannabis that they expect to set on the state’s 2022 ballot. Ohio activists are collecting signatures for a 2022 ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in the state. Florida activists of cannabis reform filed a ballot measure to legalize cannabis for adult use. Florida is likely to legalize cannabis for adult use if it makes it to next year’s ballot. New Hampshire legislators are pursuing a new approach to legalize cannabis in the state, including putting a recommended constitutional amendment on the ballot for citizens to decide next year.

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