The push for recreational marijuana continues in Arkansas as there's less than two months from the deadline for signatures on multiple ballot initiatives.
Responsible Growth Arkansas is one group hoping to get the initiative on the November ballot. “Arkansas has a great chance to be a part of something that’s history being the first southern state to do this for recreational purposes for adult use, and we’re excited here at responsible growth," said chairman Eddie Armstrong.
Aside from legalization, this amendment, if passed, would provide funding to law enforcement, healthcare research, and the court system. They’re also taking up the issue of taxes.
“Our medical patients will no longer be taxed if indeed we collect enough signatures, get it on the ballot, and ensure that people vote for it in November," said Armstrong.
The group needs a little more than 89,000 signatures, and Armstrong says they're at the half way mark. However, they aren’t the only group in the effort.
It started with three separate proposals. Now it's down to two. True Grass Arkansas tells KATV they've gathered between 40,000 to 45,000 signatures. Arkansans for Cannabis Reform withdrew their proposal Monday and will re-file in 2024.
“And I think at some point the three initiatives though all aiming for the same direction, we just had some differences in approach," Armstrong said. "The industry wanted to do it in a well-regulated way that included the people that were currently impacted by it in the medical cannabis space that we have in our state right now.”
Armstrong says he's confident they'll get the necessary signatures needed, even with push-back.
“We have a lot of work to do to convince those that may not believe that this is the right thing to do for our state right now, but we also have a lot of support," he added.
In March alone, there were more than $24 million in medical marijuana sales, and overall, 89,000 pounds have been purchased since May 2019.