Little Rock, AR: A statewide proposal to allow for the possession and state-licensed distribution of cannabis for therapeutic purposes will appear on the November electoral ballot.
The Secretary of State's office last week affirmed that initiative proponents, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, had collected the required number of signatures from registered voters to qualify the initiative for the 2012 ballot.
If passed by voters this fall, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act of 2012 will eliminate statewide criminal and civil penalties regarding the physician-recommended use and possession of up to two and one-half ounces cannabis for various qualifying medical conditions, including cancer, Crohn's disease, fibromyalgia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The measure also allows state regulators to establish not-for-profit facilities to produce and dispense cannabis to approved patients. Individual patients will also be permitted to privately cultivate limited amounts of cannabis (up to six flowering plants) if they reside further than five miles from a state-authorized dispensary.
If approved, Arkansas will become the 18th state since 1996 to allow for the limited legalization of marijuana for therapeutic purposes.
Voters in five other states - Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon, and Washington - will also be deciding on marijuana-specific ballot measures this November. In Massachusetts, voters will decide on Question 3, a statewide proposal that seeks to allow for the physician-recommended possession and state-licensed distribution of cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Montana voters will decide on Initiative Referendum 124, which seeks to repeal amendments enacted by lawmakers in 2011 to restrict the state's 2004, voter approved medical cannabis law. Colorado voters will decide on Amendment 64, which immediately allows for the legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants by those persons age 21 and over. Longer-term, the measure seeks to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers. Oregon voters will decide on Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, which provides for the state-licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to adults. The measure does not impose state-licensing or taxation requirements upon those who wish to cultivate cannabis for non-commercial purposes. Finally, in Washington, voters will decide on Initiative 502, which seeks to regulate the production and sale of limited amounts of marijuana for adults. The measure also removes criminal penalties specific to the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use.
In North Dakota, officials from the Secretary of State's office are reviewing whether petitioners in that state have collected sufficient signatures to place a medical cannabis legalization initiative on the November ballot.