You are here
Home > News > Arkansas Voters Reject Adult-Use Cannabis Bill

Arkansas Voters Reject Adult-Use Cannabis Bill

To the disappointment of Arkansas cannabis advocates, who tried hard to get the bill passed Tuesday, voters rejected Issue 4. 

Responsible Growth Arkansas was the advocate for an Arkansas Constitution Amendment that would allow the personal and legal use of marijuana by anyone over 21.

This bill would allow licensed dispensaries, which are licensed by medical and adult-use cultivators, to start selling cannabis from March 8th, 2023.

Critics of the bill said it lacked expungement provisions and that it didn’t allow for home growing. These changes would not be possible as the bill is a constitutional amendment. Because of this, even state cannabis supporters who have been longtime opponents to the bill were against it.

Issue 4 was challenged right from the beginning in an often conservative state. First, state officials, including Arkansas’ secretary of state, challenged the validity of the measure, which would be an amendment to the state’s constitution. The proposal was rejected by the state Board of Election Commissioners after advocates submitted enough valid signatures to be eligible for the ballot. They claimed that the title of the amendment did not sufficiently explain it to the voters.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson addressed the media at the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce on October 31. She joined representatives of agriculture, construction, and insurance to protest Issue 4.

“This puts us at a disadvantage in [the] recruiting industry if Issue 4 passes,” Hutchinson said, citing how workplace drug testing would be impacted.

Opponents pointed out, however that the bill does not exonerate criminal records or allow for home growth. The amendment can’t be amended by the Arkansas State Legislature if it is passed. Amendment 98 makes it legal to use medical marijuana in Arkansas.