LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on Thursday approved the wording of a second proposal to legalize medical marijuana in the state, clearing the way for supporters to begin gathering signatures to qualify for next year’s ballot.
McDaniel certified the wording of the proposal submitted by Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the group behind a medical marijuana measure that voters narrowly rejected in November. The certification means the group can begin gathering the 62,507 signatures from registered voters required for the measure to appear on next year’s ballot.
The proposal is the second medical marijuana proposal that’s been cleared by McDaniel’s office. Several groups have submitted other proposals aimed at legalizing the drug in some form to his office.
The Arkansans for Compassionate Care proposal would allow patients with qualifying conditions to purchase marijuana from nonprofit dispensaries or to grow their own marijuana if they don’t have access to reasonable transportation to a dispensary. Sales tax revenues from the dispensaries would first go to cover the costs to the state for administering the program, and the remainder would be split evenly between the Newborn Umbilical Cord Initiative Fund and state drug education programs.
A competing proposal by Arkansans for Responsible Medicine includes similar provisions and was certified by McDaniel in August. Unlike the proposal certified Thursday, the other measure does not allow for patients to grow their own marijuana.
Melissa Fults, campaign director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said she wasn’t worried about the possibility of voters having to choose between two competing proposals on next year’s ballot. Fults said she hoped to begin gathering signatures at the Arkansas State Fair, which begins Oct. 11.
“I think we have enough of a difference that people will realize that ours is the one that will truly protect patients,” Fults said.
Other marijuana proposals that McDaniel has rejected include a measure that would repeal all state laws regarding cannabis and another that would legalize marijuana as part of a statewide “study” on the drug.
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