Successful Arkansas Medical Marijuana Legalization Push Could Open up South for MMJ

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Arkansas is poised to become a key medical marijuana battleground this November, with an initiative to legalize cannabis for medical purposes likely headed for the ballot.

The main group behind the legalization measure – Arkansans for Compassionate Care – submitted nearly 75,000 extra signatures to state election officials this week after coming up short the first time around.

The chances of the measure qualifying for the ballot are very good. In fact, many supporters now feel it is a given. Just 35% of the new signatures submitted, or about 26,000 names, must be verified and deemed valid to get the measure in front of voters this fall. To put that in perspective, roughly 55% of the signatures submitted the first time were deemed valid.

Cannabis advocates see Arkansas as a key piece in the national MMJ puzzle, hoping that it will open the door for medical marijuana legalization in other Southern states. The South represents a glaring hole on the medical marijuana map, as it’s the only region of the country where no states allow the use of MMJ.

But winning over Arkansas will be a tough challenge. A recent poll found that locals are split evenly on the issue, with 47% of respondents saying they would vote to legalize MMJ if the election were held today and 46% saying they would vote against it. The remaining 7% said they weren’t sure.