Arkansas Voters divided over Medical Marijuana Initiative: Poll

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on September 30, 2016.

The voters of Arkansas are almost divided over two different approaches to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in the upcoming November ballot, according to a new poll. Two approaches are --Issue 6, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA), and Issue 7, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (AMCA).

The poll, conducted by Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College, found 49 percent of respondents preferred the Issue 6 while 43 percent opposed the measure, and 8 percent said they didn't know. On the other hand, the second initiative, Issue 7, isn’t quite popular. The poll observed that 53 percent of the voters would oppose the measure, while only 36 percent said they would support the measure, and 11 percent were uncertain.

The poll also suggest that the demographic groups supporting the AMMA include younger voters, African Americans, and Democrats, while older voters offer the lowest levels of support to the measure.

 AMMA would allow for physicians to certify patients to receive medical cannabis for select medical conditions, while the AMCA would allow some dispensaries as well as hardship licenses allowing patients to grow their own cannabis, who live in more than 20 miles from a dispensary once the program approved. The two proposals take decisively different approaches to legalizing medical marijuana in Arkansas.

Apart from home marijuana cultivation, differences between the two proposals include limits on the cost for patient identification cards, the government agency empowered with the responsibility of overseeing the program, and decisions on how the money generated from sales taxes on medical marijuana will be distributed.

Pollsters claimed that the outcomes of the poll indicate that Arkansans are not at all confused about the two competing medical marijuana ballot measures.

“Arkansas voters do appear to distinguish between the two medical marijuana proposals, according to our survey,” said TB&P’s Roby Brock. “With legal challenges remaining, high-profile opposition, and the possibility of national groups spending money in support of the issue, these proposals may be the most contested on the November ballot.”

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