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Arkansas ballots to not include recreational marijuana in next election

The Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners rejected the initiative from Responsible Growth Arkansas at the meeting.

ARKANSAS, USA — As of Wednesday, Aug. 3, Arkansans will not be able to vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana come this November because the state Board of Election Commissioners denied the proposed ballot language.

“We’re of course disappointed. We think they got it wrong, the ballot that we submitted the title clearly said what was happening and what would be the change,” said Scott Lancaster, counsel for Responsible Growth Arkansas.

The board had concerns the group did not include sufficient background checks for dispensary owners or limits on THC in the ballot language.

“The type of detail that the board expected or demanded in this case would make the ballot title thousands and thousands of words long and that is simply not workable for a ballot,” Lancaster said.

Before the decision, Governor Asa Hutchinson released a statement opposing the legalization of marijuana, and the Family Council, a nonprofit that aims to influence conservative policies in the Arkansas legislature, agrees.

“This marijuana ballot measure is really very flawed in the way it was written, and I believe that the board of elections recognized that and they’re really doing the people of Arkansas a favor,” said Jeff Cox, the director of Family Council.

Overall, Responsible Growth Arkansas and the council agree the language on the ballot should be simplified and easy to digest for voters.

“I think it’s important for all of us to read for ourselves and understand exactly what these measures will do and that’s going to take some effort,” Cox said.

Lancaster says they're drafting an appeal as soon as possible. State law requires the Arkansas Supreme Court to act quickly to review the issue.

The board also rejected the ballot title for a proposal that would remove Pope County as one of the four counties where a casino is allowed.

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