Last year Arkansas came impressively close to being the first state in the south to legalize medical cannabis; Issue 5 garnered 49% of the vote. The measure would have legalized the possession of cannabis for qualified patients, established cannabis dispensaries, and allowed for home-growing for those more than 5 miles from a dispensary.
Now, proponents of Issue 5 are coming back full force, and have filed a similar initiative, attempting to get it on the 2014 general election ballot. Once the Arkansas Attorney General’s office certifies it, proponents will be able to collect signatures to get it on next year;s ballot.
This time, things are different, as Arkansas residents and potential donors know that its passage is undoubtedly a reality. The shift from 49% to 51% is likely to happen simply based on the time lapse between the 2012 election and the 2014 election, as support for medical cannabis is rising, and the reform movement isn’t slowing.
To help deter some of the biggest opposition to the campaign, which strived on people’s fears, especially of home-grows, the new initiative will remove the provision that allows patients to grow their own if not within 5 miles of a dispensary. Although this is clearly a big loss, the political ramification of its removal could make the initial implementation of medical cannabis much easier. Advocates can then work on establishing home-growing.
The group behind the initiative, Arkansans for Medical Cannabis, can be found on Facebook, as well as on their website. Those in the state who want legal medical cannabis would be wise to get in contact with them.