Arkansas high court nixes one of two medical marijuana initiatives

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Arkansas’ Supreme Court disqualified one of two medical cannabis legalization ballot initiatives, leaving a lone measure for voters to decide on and perhaps improving its chances of success.

The high court ruled 5-2 on Thursday that roughly 12,000 signatures submitted by Arkansans for Compassionate Care were invalid, meaning its measure, designated as Issue 7, doesn’t have enough signatures and won’t appear on the ballot next month, the Associated Press reported.

The ruling was made after almost 142,000 people had participated in early voting, which began Monday for Arkansas’ general election, according to the AP.

A competing measure, Issue 6, which is supported by Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana and led by Little Rock attorney David Couch, will still be on the ballot. Issue 6 survived a similar legal challenge recently from cannabis opponents.

Political observers ranging from Marijuana Policy Project head Rob Kampia to Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer had previously assumed Arkansas would fail to legalize MMJ next month, given that an issue typically doesn’t receive majority support when there are competing ballot measures for voters to choose between.

With only one measure left standing, it’s likely that hopes for MMJ legalization in the deep red state just got a lot better. One poll already found 49% support for Issue 6, and that could increase significantly now that it’s the only option for MMJ supporters.