Arkansas AG approves ballot measure expanding medical marijuana access

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Arkansas’ attorney general has signed off on language for a November ballot initiative that aims to vastly expand the state’s medical marijuana program and opens the door for full legalization.

The Tuesday approval clears the way for advocates of The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2024 to collect 90,704 signatures from registered voters by July 5 to qualify for the ballot, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The proposal, which comes amid an increase in registered medical patients, would:

  • Allow more health care professionals to prescribe MMJ.
  • Expand qualifying conditions for use.
  • Accept medical patients from other states.
  • Increase the expiration date of medical cards from one year to three years.

The initiative would also legalize adult use if the federal government removes marijuana from the controlled substance list or eliminates possession as a crime, the newspaper reported.

The measure would also amend the state constitution by giving voters the right to alter constitutional amendments, not lawmakers.

In January, state Attorney General Tim Griffin rejected ballot language pertaining to the ballot’s former title, Arkansas Medical Cannabis Amendment of 2024.

In November 2022, Arkansas voters opposed a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana amid a backlash from political and religious conservatives as well as progressive cannabis advocates.

Meanwhile, MMJ sales in the state totaled $23 million in January, slightly down year-over-year, according to figures released by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

In 2023, the state’s 38 licensed dispensaries registered record sales of $283 million from 62,227 pounds of marijuana sold.

The state, which launched MMJ sales in May 2019, has eight cultivators and nine licensed processors.

The Arkansas health department reported 97,253 active MMJ patient cards through January, up from 89,855 a year earlier.