A group headed by a former Arkansas lawmaker has joined the charge of reforming the state’s cannabis policy by organizing a group to campaign for a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana. Eddie Armstrong, a former Democratic representative of North Little Rock, was listed as the chair of Arkansas for Responsible Growth in a filing with the Arkansas Ethics Commission filed October 15.
The text of the proposed constitutional amendment had not been submitted to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office as of the beginning of the week. The group organization statement, however, Notes That the organization “will advocate passage of an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to allow the regulated sale of adult-use cannabis in the state,” according to media reports.
In an email to reporters, Armstrong wrote that more details about a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational cannabis will be released in the coming weeks.
Armstrong is a former minority leader in the Arkansas House of Representatives, where he served as a legislator from 2013 to 2019. He is also the founder of Cannabis Capital Corp. , a Chicago-based consulting firm serving the medical marijuana industry, according to a 2019 article in Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Medical marijuana was approved in 2016
Arkansas voters passed medical marijuana in 2016 with the number 6 pass, a constitutional amendment ballot measure that received 53 percent of the vote. Under the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, patients can receive a doctor’s recommendation to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis to treat one or more qualifying medical conditions.
Medical marijuana dispensaries began serving patients in 2019. However, legal restrictions on the number of cannabis growers and retailers may soon leave patients with an insufficient supply of the drug, says medical marijuana advocate Melissa Violtes.
“There can only be a maximum of 40 dispensaries and that’s not enough to cover Arkansas,” She said mistakes. They went on to say that the number would only reach 30,000 patients. We’re close to reaching 80,000.”
It is also proposed to amend a separate cannabis law
Responsible Growth Arkansas isn’t the only organization campaigning to legalize adult cannabis use in the state. Under a separate Arkansas True Grass ballot measure known as the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment for 2022, cannabis will be legalized for adults age 21 and older, including provisions to grow up to 12 cannabis plants in the home. This action would also release nonviolent marijuana offenders from incarceration, probation, and parole, and expunge records of previous marijuana convictions.
The proposed constitutional amendment would also establish a regulatory structure for the production and sale of recreational marijuana. Sales of cannabis used for adults will be subject to a selective marijuana tax of eight percent in addition to the state sales tax. Local jurisdictions are also allowed to levy a five percent tax on recreational marijuana sales.
Arkansas True Grass spokesperson Jesse Raphael said the measure for adult cannabis use would also support the state’s medical marijuana program.
“The medicine in Arkansas is very good but it is very expensive for patients. We would like to see that change as patients are also able to develop their own abilities,” Rafael Tell Local media earlier this month.
For any measure of cannabis legalization to qualify for the ballot under state law, supporters must collect at least 89,151 signatures of registered voters, a number equal to 10 percent of the votes cast for the governor in the 2018 general election. To become law this year, those collecting signatures for proposed ballot measures must be Arkansas residents and may not be paid on a per-signature basis. The deadline for collecting signatures is July 8, 2022.