Arkansas Court disqualifies Medical Marijuana Ballot Proposal

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on October 31, 2016.

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday disqualified the medical marijuana proposal s in the November ballot to allow marijuana in the state for medical purposes, saying the proposal did not receive the required numbers of qualified signatures.

In the ruling, Justice Karen R. Baker wrote the “total number of signatures which should have been counted by respondent falls below the statutory minimum.” She also stated that the court has "simply interpreted the laws enacted by our General Assembly.”

The court said that the sponsors of Issue 7, known as the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, neither obtained the necessary amount of signatures nor followed the rules during the signature collecting process.

The court rejected more than 12,000 signatures on Issue 7 due to various reasons. The decision left the initiative nearly 2,500 signatures short and got removed from the November ballot. The measure had a provision for patients to apply for permission from state authorities to grow marijuana for personal use if they lived more than 20 miles away from an authorized dispensary.

The Chief Justice Howard W. Brill said the act should remain on the ballot."While the sponsor's canvassers did make some errors in the signature-gathering process, I agree with the master's findings that these errors are not a complete failure with regard to the sufficiency of the signatures on the petition," he wrote.

However, the voters of the state will still be able to vote on Issue 6, also known as the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, on Nov. 8 that would allow for the regulated use of marijuana for certain medical conditions, where a state commission oversees plant growth and marijuana distribution.

Four years ago, Arkansas voters narrowly rejected a proposal legalizing medical marijuana in the state. At present, as many as 25 States of the U.S. and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.

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