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Arkansas Group Aims to Legalize Recreational Marijuana on November Ballot

by Sarah Cawthon June 04, 2020

The marijuana reform group known as Arkansans for Cannabis Reform has resumed collecting signatures in hopes of placing the constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana on the November ballot.

“I am still confident. We’re going to give a hard push these next four-and-a-half weeks—hoping and praying that we get signatures and get them turned in and get on the ballot,” said Melissa Fults, executive director of the group. “And I think it’ll pass once it gets on the ballot.”

Arkansas True Grass, another group who authored the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment, was on a parallel path, but has now focused their efforts on the 2022 ballot after signature collection efforts were paused earlier this year amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Both proposals would legalize adult-use cannabis and allow adults aged 21 and older to possess and consume cannabis products.

“People are more receptive now than they were in 2011,” said Laree Treece, a volunteer with Arkansans for Cannabis Reform, about the effort. “I think [Arkansans] are more educated now than they were.”

She and the same group of activists also led campaigns for medical marijuana use in 2012 and 2016. Arkansas voters approved a medical cannabis ballot measure in 2016.

While Arkansans are now familiar with marijuana, the new concern is educating them on the differences between the new adult-use constitutional amendments.

The Arkansas Adult-Use Cannabis Amendment – 2020
The Arkansas Adult-Use Cannabis Amendment, or AAUCA, was created by Arkansans for Cannabis Reform. It would allow 12 cultivation facilities across the state, while mandating at least one retail location in each county and at least 30 in each of the state’s four congressional districts.

It would allow people to possess four ounces of cannabis flower, and to have six plants and six seedlings for personal use.

Arkansans for Cannabis Reform also plan to support third-party expungement campaigns.

According to Treece, Arkansans for Cannabis Reform was created after member’s became dissatisfied with the state’s medical marijuana program — specifically when state leaders refused to add more conditions to the list of qualifying conditions.

The amendment will become effective the day after it is passed, and the remaining sections will become effective 60 days after the amendment is passed.

The bill includes business opportunities for cultivation facilities, dispensaries and processing facilities. Application fees for dispensary and processor licenses will initially be no more than $5,000 and the application fees for cultivation facilities will be no more than $15,000.

The population and number of licenses to be issued will be determined by the Board of the Alcohol Beverage Control Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration within 90 days of the effective date of this amendment. The Alcohol Beverage Control Board may authorize an increase in application and licensing fees when warranted, so long as the increased fee is not more than 10% higher on annual basis.

The department will also establish any additional rules and regulations.

The Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment – 2022
The Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment, or ARMA, would set no limits on the number of cultivators or retailers that could receive licenses and would set the fee for a cultivation license at $500 per year.

It would restrict Arkansans to purchasing four ounces of smokable or vaporizable marijuana per day, and residents would be allowed to own 12 cannabis plants and an unlimited number of seedlings.

Non-residents would be able to purchase one ounce of smokable or vaporizable marijuana per day and up to 72 ounces of edibles per day.

The ARMA would also call for the expungement of criminal records of all Arkansans who were convicted of marijuana-related offenses if no other crime was involved.

Interested in Marijuana Business Opportunities in Arkansas? 

To begin preparing for future recreational marijuana business opportunities in Arkansas, our Arkansas Application Guide and Checklist includes a step-by-step guide detailing all the actions items needed to complete and establish a marijuana business.

The guide provides a step-by-step checklist of over 100 action items to complete prior to submitting your application for a marijuana business license. It covers topics from real estate and financial planning to staffing and team building activities.