Lawmakers in Arkansas and Kansas this week introduced bills to legalize adult-use and medical marijuana, respectively – another sign of MJ legalization’s support in conservative Republican-leaning states.
In Arkansas, where a costly industry-funded legalization measure was rejected by voters in November, Republican state Sen. Joshua Bryant introduced a bill that would amend the state constitution to legalize both adult-use possession as well as home cultivation.
According to the Arkansas Times, Bryant, a former U.S. Marine, identifies as a “conservative Republican” and was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, who campaigned against the November legalization effort.
Although Arkansas’ legalization campaign raised more than $13 million, mostly from the state’s cannabis industry, voters soundly rejected Issue 4, 52.25% to 43.75%.
Arkansas does have medical marijuana but home growing is currently outlawed.
It’s unclear whether Bryant’s bill, if passed, would be signed into law by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a leading conservative voice who also opposed Issue 4.
In Kansas, one of the few remaining states without medical or adult-use access, several marijuana reform bills were introduced in the state Legislature, Wichita TV station KSN reported.
One measure, Senate Bill 171, would legalize cannabis for military veterans.
Another, House Bill 2363, would eliminate penalties for simple possession and expunge past records.
Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, has indicated she’d sign “overdue” legislation legalizing medical marijuana in Kansas if the Legislature sent one to her desk.
In a dynamic seen in other states across the country, a medical marijuana bill passed the Kansas House of Representatives in 2021 only to die in the Republican-controlled state Senate.
According to NORML, 68% of Kansas voters are in favor of medical marijuana.