Two Statewide Initiatives Make Arkansas Deadline, Marijuana Misses

Tue, Jul 8 2014 by Neal Hobson

For citizens of the Natural State, a natural medicine won’t appear on the ballot this November.  Arkansans for Compassionate Care decided not to turn in signatures for a proposed medical marijuana ballot measure as it had not collected enough by yesterday’s deadline. The group announced gathering just over 50,000 signatures, but needed 62,507 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. Campaign director Melissa Fults said the group would try again for the 2016 election.

Two other initiatives did make the cut: one would amend the state constitution to legalize alcohol sales in all 75 Arkansas counties, and the other, a statute, would boost the minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 by 2017. Give Arkansas a Raise Now, promoting the minimum wage initiative turned in 77,288 signatures on Monday’s deadline date to cover the 62,507 requirement.  Let Arkansas Decide, the group leading the alcohol sale campaign, turned in 84,969 signatures to meet a requirement of 78,133 valid signatures. 

Both measures may need to gather additional signatures to qualify, but under Arkansas’s process have now qualified for an additional grace period to gather more signatures should they not currently have enough. Legislation passed last year would have significantly cut back the grace period, but it was challenged and struck down earlier this year in state court.

Arkansas Business article