LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The issue of recreational marijuana on the state ballot, after a recent setback, has now moved closer to November ballot inclusion.
In a Wednesday, Aug. 10, order, the Arkansas Supreme Court instructed Secretary of State John Thurston to certify the ballot title for recreation marijuana in order to place it on the November ballot. This will allow voters to vote in favor or against expanded access to marijuana in the state, removing the medical marijuana card requirement to purchase or use marijuana.
It remains to be seen if the general election votes will be counted.
At issue is the deadlines for items to appear on the November ballot. Any proposed Arkansas constitutional amendment must be certified by the Secretary of State by August 25. The Supreme Court’s schedule, however, will not allow it to hear the case filed by Responsible Growth Arkansas, the group working to put recreational marijuana on the ballot, until September.
The Wednesday order was in response to a lawsuit filed Aug. 4 by Responsible Growth Arkansas after the ballot title was rejected by the state Board of Election Commissioners Aug. 3. The group, which had gathered valid petition signatures to place marijuana on the November ballot, asked the court in its filing to make a preliminary injunction in order to beat the Aug. 25 deadline.
- July 8: Responsible Growth Arkansas submits petition signatures to Secretary of State John Thurston’s office in support of a constitutional amendment supporting recreational marijuana.
- July 11: Thurston submits the name and ballot title for certification to the Board of Election Commissioners.
- July 29: Thurston announces Responsible Growth Arkansas has met the signature requirement.
- Aug. 3: The Board of Election rejects the petition based upon the ballot title.
- Aug. 4: Responsible Growth Arkansas files with the Supreme Court. (Ballot initiatives are heard by the Supreme Court in Arkansas.)
- Aug. 10: The Supreme Court issues an order which has a preliminary injunction for Thurston to place Responsible Growth Arkansas’s title on the ballot.
- Sept. 4: By the Aug. 10 order, this is the final day for filing responses regarding Responsible Growth Arkansas’s legal filing with the court.