LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Supreme Court said Thursday that voters can decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana, overturning a state panel’s decision to block the measure from the November ballot.
The justices granted a request from Responsible Growth Arkansas, the group behind the proposal, to certify the measure for the November ballot.
“The people will decide whether to approve the proposed amendment in November,” the court said.
The group behind the proposal had appealed to court after the state Board of Election Commissioners blocked the initiative. Supporters submitted more than enough valid signatures from registered voters to qualify, but the proposal still needed board approval to appear on the ballot.
“We are extremely grateful to the Supreme Court that they agreed with us and felt that it was a complete validation of everything we have done,” said Steve Lancaster, attorney for Responsible Growth Arkansas. until November”.
Because the deadline to certify initiative titles has passed, the court had allowed the measure on the general election ballot while it decided whether votes would be counted.
Arkansas voters in 2016 approved a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana. The proposed amendment would allow those over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and allow state-licensed dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana.
The Board of Election Commissioners rejected the measure after commissioners said they did not believe the ballot title fully explained the impact of the amendment to voters. Supporters of the measure argued that the board’s criticism went beyond what was required for ballot initiatives.
Recreational marijuana is already legal in 19 states, and legalization proposals are on the ballot this fall in South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri and Maryland. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a proposal in that state will not appear on the ballot in November.