Arkansas voters will see two medical marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot in November. The first initiative to qualify, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, is similar to the initiative that qualified for the 2012 ballot, and has the same campaign team behind it. It’s considered to be the more patient friendly initiative, as it allows home cultivation.
The second initiative to qualify, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, is a pro-business medical marijuana model. It’s better than prohibition, but it’s not as good for patients as the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, if for any reason because it doesn’t allow home cultivation.
The pro-business initiative is Issue 6, and the home cultivation initiative is Issue 7 on the ballot. News recently broke that a backer of Issue 6 spent $30,000 trying to sabotage Issue 7. That’s incredibly unfortunate, as no one should ever fight against patients being able to grow their own medicine. It’s a blatant example of what I call Jacktivism, and certainly isn’t activism.
Two initiatives being on the ballot has already resulted in Arkansas efforts losing out on a one million donation from the Marijuana Policy Project and a coalition of others. Rob Kampia, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, had the following to say about Arkansas efforts once it was announced that there would be two initiatives on the ballot, per Marijuana Business Daily:
“It’s so incredibly unlikely to pass one of the MMJ initiatives in Arkansas with both appearing on the same ballot that we were unanimous in agreeing to not spend $1 million on a campaign that just became almost impossible to win,” Kampia said. “That agreement was conveyed to the folks who were running the second competing campaign.”
The most recent poll to date (thanks for tweeting about it Tom!) on the medical marijuana initiatives shows Kampia’s prediction proving to have some validity, in that neither initiative had over 50% of the vote. One initiative, Issue 6, had plurality support, but not enough to push it over the 50% mark. Per Talk Business & Politics:
Voters were asked:
Q: The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment would amend the Arkansas constitution to legalize physician-certified medical marijuana in Arkansas. The amendment would limit the number of marijuana dispensaries in the state to 40 and would give the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division inspection authority over the dispensaries. If the election were held today, would you vote for or against this proposal?
8% Don’t Know
Q: The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act is an initiated act that would legalize physician-certified medical marijuana in Arkansas. While a number of state regulated cannabis care centers would be allowed, this proposal would allow individuals with an approved “hardship certificate” who live more than 20 miles from a care center to grow up to 10 cannabis plants. If the election were held today, would you vote for or against this proposal?
11% Don’t Know
For Issue 6, 49% is not enough to get it done on election day if all of the undecided voters vote against the initiative. There’s still time between now and election day for the opposition to go negative in the media, which is all but a guarantee to happen.
For Issue 7, the math is saddening. Even if all of the undecided voters changed to ‘for’ votes, that’s still just 47% of the vote. That’s less than the initiative received in 2012. Issue 7 is going to need an epic public awareness campaign in order to get the word out. That’s not going to be cheap. You can donate to the Issue 7 campaign at this link here. If you don’t have money to donate, I urge you to help spread the word.
image via ABC News