Marijuana

Will Arkansas Voters Be Next to Legalize Marijuana?

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I know which state's flag this is.
gmeador/Foter.com

After a history of rejecting marijuana-related ballot measures at the certify-the-popular-name-and-ballot-title step of the process, Arkansas' attorney general, Democrat Dustin McDaniel, is allowing the Arkansas Hemp and Cannabis Amendment to move forward.

Supporters of the measure now have until July 7 to file the necessary petition signatures—78,133 of them. They have to hit a specified minimum number of signatures in 15 of the seventy five counties in Arkansas. The amendment was proposed by Robert Reed, whose medical marijuana amendment was rejected earlier this year at the same point in the process.

Arkansas has among the harshest marijuana laws in the country, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Possession of up to four ounces can lead to a year in jail, and a third possession conviction can lead to six.

Text of the amendment below:

Section 1. This is an Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that shall be called "The Arkansas Hemp and Cannabis Amendment."

Section 2. Effective April 20, 2015, the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, selling, possessing and use of the cannabis plant (genus cannabis) and all products derived from the cannabis plant (genus cannabis) is lawful within the entire geographic area of each and every county of this State.

Section 3. "Hemp" is defined for purposes of this amendment as any part of the cannabis plant (genus cannabis), living or not, containing one percent or less, by dry weight, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol(Delta-9-THC).

Section 4. "Cannabis" is defined for purposes of this amendment as any part of the cannabis plant (genus cannabis), living or not, containing greater than one percent, by dry weight, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC).

Section 5. The cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, sale, possession and use of "Hemp" for personal, industrial, or commercial use may be regulated, but the number of plants cultivated or the products derived from manufacturing, shall not [be] limited or prohibited, by the General Assembly.

Section 6. The cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, sale, possession and use of "Cannabis" for personal, industrial, or commercial use may be regulated, but not prohibited, by the General Assembly.

Section 7. All laws which conflict with this amendment are hereby repealed to the extent that they conflict with this amendment.

Related: The July issue of Reason, "Marijuana on Main Street."

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  1. It looks like a good start, but the lack of limitations on the regulations allowed in Section 6 is obviously asking to be abused. Still I hope it passes.

    1. Practically the definition of “the exception that consumes the rule.”

      Still, passing it would be a victory.

      1. Practically the definition of “the exception that consumes the rule.”

        This. Legislatures have a knack for regulating things out of existence without explicitly prohibiting them.

        1. Executives have a knack for making the exception consume the rule as well. (Notify Congress 30 days ahead of time? Article II powers, baby.)

    1. Why would the Taliban make that threat? Because they thought the deal was so laughably in their favor that the American people would object if they knew about it?

    2. “Oh, really? Nice little group of five terrorists we got here. Be a shame if something were to happen to them.”

  2. Cool. I’m in Arkansas, I’ll sign. Of course, I don’t think they’ll have a problem collecting the minimum required signatures in Pulaski County.

    1. I should also point out that the medical marijuana bill of last year, or the year before, barely failed (I think it was 49% for), and I think it could pass the next time around. I’m not so sure about this one though.

      1. Yes, it’s easier to get people to care about the poor sick people than the poor stoners. Obviously, the person shouldn’t matter, but it does.

      2. It will lose support because it’s recreational, but gain because it’s a midterm election. The former will beat the latter, I fear.

        They’re just trying to trick me into voting again.

      3. medical campaign was extremely successful. I think the issue is really popular in arkansas. the mountains bring in just enough old hippies. at least that was my impression when I lived there. I’m sure Eureka Springs would be on board.

  3. lawful within the entire geographic are [sic] of each and every county of this State.

    Emphasis added.

    So, Ima say “No”.

  4. Voting so old fashioned.

    Just get one court to declare that if you have the right to smoke a cigarette then you also have the right to smoke marijuana.

    Then just have the rest of the courts go along under Equal Protection Clause.

  5. I don’t think this one stands a chance of passing. First off, they’re starting way too late in the game to gather enough signatures. On top of that, it’s a midterm election so even if they did get enough signatures all we’re going to see at the polls for the most part are silver haired old people, bible thumpers and ultra-political ultra-conservative types who are fighting some kind of culture war. We almost passed a medical marijuana initiative in 2012, but in the unlikely event that this one makes it on the ballot the vote won’t even be close. I don’t know why they’re even trying now. Whoever invests in this thing will be throwing their money away, and most who would put big money on a marijuana legalization initiative know that. The big money won’t be there until 2016. I wish these guys well and would surely vote for this if it makes it on the ballot, but I think the results will just be morale killing and will embolden the other side. They’ll use it for propaganda. Prosecutors I have to deal with all the time will use this to say that Arkansas voters and juries are strongly opposed to legalization and therefore their lousy offers are good. It’s just the wrong time to do this and I wish these people would have had the good sense to wait until the time is right.

  6. “Will Arkansas Voters Be Next to Legalize Marijuana?”

    Technically, I can’t predict the future, but…I’m guessing No.

    1. “No” is the correct answer.

  7. Section 2. Effective April 20, 2015

    You know who else liked to celebrate on April 20?

    1. Black Oak Arkansas?

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