Competing medical cannabis measures in AR could fail

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Two campaigns to legalize medical cannabis in Arkansas could wind up killing each other in November if both of them somehow qualify for the ballot.

“It will be enough to split the vote and both will fail,” one MMJ campaign manager told the Associated Press.

Arkansans have already rejected medical cannabis once before, in 2012, when 51% of voters shot down another statewide initiative.

This year, one proposed ballot measure – by Arkansans for Compassionate Care – needs 67,887 signatures by July 8. If successful, it would change state statute and legalize MMJ.

The second, supported by Little Rock attorney David Couch, would amend the state constitution, meaning it needs 84,859 signatures to qualify.

The first campaign has already surpassed the signature threshold and is working on a buffer, while the second has about half of the signatures it needs to make the ballot.

There’s also a third longshot campaign to legalize recreational marijuana, but the AP couldn’t reach the initiative’s prime backer to check on that campaign’s status.

Political resistance to any pro-cannabis initiative already is emerging. The AP reported that two separate groups have organized with the express aim of defeating any marijuana measure: the Family Council and the Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities.