Arkansas recreational cannabis measure appears headed to fall ballot

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A referendum to legalize recreational cannabis sales in Arkansas passed a critical milestone, likely assuring the proposed constitutional amendment will be on the state’s November ballot.

State election officials said the referendum proponent, Responsible Growth Arkansas, succeeded in submitting the required 89,151 valid signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot, according to the Associated Press.

The only additional step is for the state Board of Election Commissioners to review the measure, including the proposal’s name and ballot title, the AP reported. That is expected to occur Aug. 3.

The referendum calls for recreational marijuana sales to begin March 8, 2023, with existing medical marijuana providers.

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State regulators would award 40 additional store licenses through a lottery by July 5, 2023, and 12 additional cultivation licenses by Nov. 8, 2023, according to the petition.

The measure calls for a 10% retail tax on recreational marijuana products, in addition to local and state sales taxes.