Arkansas marijuana advocate says push for full legalization coming


    The Drug Policy Education Center will soon start the process of trying to bring recreational marijuana to a vote in Arkansas (Photo: MGN)

    The Drug Policy Education Center will soon start the process of trying to bring recreational marijuana to a vote in Arkansas, the group's executive director said Wednesday.

    Melissa Fults said the group is preparing to submit a ballot proposal to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for 2020. The plan to push for full legalization comes as the state nears the start of its medical marijuana program, which voters approved in 2016. The rollout has been slowed by legal issues and legislative meddling, the Associated Press reported, while a medical marijuana program in neighboring Oklahoma has been approved and launched within a year.

    "Arkansas politicians have ignored the will of the people, have failed to represent patients and have given us no alternative but to push for full legalization and make the law strong enough that they cannot interfere with the program," Fults said.

    Fults spoke about the push for legalization Wednesday after Arkansas lawmakers decided against bringing House Bill 1150 to a vote. The bill would have expanded the conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment in the state.

    Marijuana cultivation in Arkansas began in January. As of this month, all 32 dispensaries in the state had been licensed and the state had begun issuing patient ID cards.

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