3 red states submit signatures to get marijuana initiatives on November ballots

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In three traditionally conservative states, campaigns to legalize adult-use marijuana or medical cannabis submitted signatures to elections officials, the precursor to voters seeing such initiatives on their ballots.

If the signatures in each state are certified:

  • Voters in Arkansas could decide to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.
  • Nebraska voters could choose to legalize medical marijuana in one of the few states with no legal access.
  • Voters in North Dakota could decide to legalize adult-use sales as soon as 2025.

Arkansas medical marijuana expansion

In Arkansas, where medical marijuana is available – though under significant restrictions that limit business opportunities – voters could consider an expansion that would allow physicians to recommend the drug to “any patient who they believe will benefit,” according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

In that state, advocacy group Arkansans for Patient Access submitted 114,000 signatures from registered voters. Under state law, 90,704 signatures are required to qualify an initiative for the ballot.

It could take weeks for elections workers to sort through the ballots, Little Rock TV station KTHV reported.

Under Arkansas law, they’re required to do so within 30 days.

Nebraska MMJ legalization

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana is behind two petitions meant to legalize medical cannabis in the state – one legalizes access; the other sets up regulations for business.

The committee submitted more than 114,000 signatures, well above the required 86,500, the Nebraska Examiner reported.

In early June, the campaign was 30,000 signatures short of the requirement.

Two previous attempts to get MMJ initiatives on the Nebraska ballot have failed:

North Dakota adult-use legalization

In North Dakota, existing medical marijuana dispensaries are behind a campaign committee called New Economic Frontier that’s submitted more than 22,000 signatures, the Associated Press reported.

Campaign finance records show that MMJ licensees Pure Dakota and marijuana multistate operator Curaleaf Holdings have contributed more than $226,000 toward the measure.

If the recreational cannabis initiative makes the ballot and is approved by voters, adult-use sales would launch by 2025 and North Dakotans 21 and older would be able to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.

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