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Former Arkansas Lawmaker Launches Cannabis Legalization Campaign |

An ex-lawmaker from Arkansas has organized a group that will campaign for legalization of recreational cannabis. In a file filed with the Arkansas Ethics Commission on October 15, Eddie Armstrong (a former Democratic State Representative from North Little Rock) is named as the Chair of Responsible Growth Arkansas.

At the start of this week, Arkansas Secretary-of-State had not received the proposal’s text. The group’s statement of organization, however, notes that the organization will “advocate for the passage of an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to allow the regulated sale of adult-use cannabis in the state,” according to media reports. 

Armstrong sent an email to journalists, stating that more information about the constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana will be made public in the coming weeks.

Armstrong was a former minor leader of Arkansas State House of Representatives. He served as a legislator between 2013 and 2019. According to a 2019 article, Armstrong was also founder of Cannabis Capital Corp. a Chicago-based consultant firm working in the medical marijuana sector. Arkansas Democrat Gazette

In 2016, Medical Marijuana was Legalized

Arkansas residents legalized medical cannabis in 2016. Issue 6 was a constitutional amendment that garnered 53 percent of the votes. Under the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, patients can receive a doctor’s recommendation to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis for the treatment of one or more qualifying medical conditions.

In 2019, medical marijuana dispensaries opened and began to serve patients. Melissa Fults, medical marijuana advocate, said that statutory limitations on cannabis growers and retailers may soon lead to patients not receiving enough medicine.

“There can only be a maximum of 40 dispensaries and that is not enough to cover the state of Arkansas,” said Fults. “They kept spouting that it was only going to 30,000 patients. We’re about to hit 80,000.”

Additional Amendment to Separate Cannabis Legalization Proposed

Responsible Growth Arkansas does not represent the only advocacy group for adult-use marijuana legalization in Arkansas. Arkansas True Grass also proposed a ballot measure, the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment 2022. This would legalize cannabis for all adults over 21. It includes provisions that allow them to grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home. It would exempt past convictions from prison, parole, and probation. 

Proposed constitutional amendments would establish regulations for production and sale. An eight percent excise tax on adult-use marijuana would apply to sales. This tax will also be added to the state’s sales tax. The local authorities would have the right to assess a 5 percent tax for recreational marijuana sales.

Jesse Raphael, a spokesperson for Arkansas True Grass, said that the adult-use cannabis measure would also support the state’s medical marijuana program.

“Medicine in Arkansas is very good but very expensive for the patients. We’d like to see that changed with patients also able to grow their own,” Raphael told local media earlier this month.

In order for either marijuana legalization measure or the other to be eligible for the state ballot, they must gather at least 89.151 signatures. That is 10 percent of ballots that were cast for Governor in the 2018 general elections. The Arkansas legislature passed legislation this year that requires canvassers to collect signatures in support of proposed ballot measures. They are not allowed to be paid per sign. May 8, 2022 is the deadline to collect signatures.