The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled late Thursday that state voters will have a chance to decide which recreational marijuana proposals will be included in this November ballot.
The decision ends a long-running debate over a bill that would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older while also establishing a state-regulated marijuana market.
State officials, including the Arkansas secretary of state, challenged the validity of a bill that would amend the state’s constitution.
Activists submitted a sufficient number of valid signatures for the proposal to qualify for the ballot, but the state election commission argued that the title of the ballot did not adequately explain the amendment to voters. and refused the bill.
The group behind the proposal, Responsible Growth Arkansas, has appealed to the state Supreme Court, which ruled last month that the amendment must be on ballots, but whether the votes will actually count. decision has been postponed.
On Thursday, the court made its final decision, finding the amendment sufficient and denying the Electoral Commission’s authority to reject the proposal in the first place.
As reported by the Associated Pressthe judge “rejected the board’s argument against the bill” and “also revoked the 2019 law that gave the board the power to certify ballot measures.”
According to local news station WREGthe majority stated that “the title of the ballot in question is sufficiently complete to convey a clear idea of the scope and importance of the proposed amendment” and that “the respondent and the intervening We have not fulfilled our responsibility to prove that the title of the
“The public will decide whether to approve the amendments in November,” the opinion said.
Responsible Growth Arkansas celebrated this decision.
Group attorney Steve Lancaster said: “We are very grateful that the Supreme Court agreed with us and felt that everything we had done was fully validated. As quoted by the Associated Press“We are excited and moving forward in November.”
The majority also said that the Electoral Commission “does not have the discretion to decide whether or not to certify ballot titles.” According to WREGand “the Board has no authority to refuse to certify a vote title for Secretary of State, and its actions have no legal effect.”
“Arkansasians read the title of this ballot to know that voting for the initiative is to vote in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, and that their decisions will impact current medical marijuana laws and regulations, as well as children’s rights, and the broader scope of their decisions.” It is for the people, not this court, to exercise their right to amend the Constitution, and our courts have made their decisions private. We must continue to maintain this original power of the people of Arkansas by not superseding our decisions. Opinions, As quoted by WREG.
Another judge, Sean Womack, said he “partially agreed with, but disagreed with, the majority opinion.” WREG“Poll titles fail to adequately inform voters of the magnitude of change and give the marijuana industry more leeway to operate with limited scrutiny in these areas.
But Womack also said, “Arkansasians read the title of this ballot and said that voting for the initiative is to vote in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, and that their decision is in line with current medical marijuana law.” I’m sure you can understand that it can have a broader impact on regulation…and children.
“It is for the people, not this court, to exercise the right to amend the Constitution, and our court will ensure that the people of Arkansas do this by not superseding their decisions by ours. Must continue to hold power in the first place. WREG.