Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Monday approved the wording for a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational and medical marijuana.
If approved by voters, the measure would legalize the “cultivation, production, distribution, sale, possession, and use of the cannabis plant… and all products derived from the cannabis plant.” Anyone 21 or older could get a permit to grow up to 36 cannabis plants for personal use or to sell.
It would impose an additional 5 percent excise tax on recreational marijuana sales, but medical marijuana sales would not be taxed by the state. It would also require the release of people in prison for non-violent marijuana offenses. The record of those previously convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses would be cleared.
To get the measure on the November ballot, the sponsor, Mary Berry, must collect almost 85,000 signatures from registered Arkansas voters.
Popular Name: “The Arkansas Cannabis Amendment”
Ballot Title: An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the cannabis plant, providing that the cultivation, production, distribution, sale, possession, and use of the cannabis plant and cannabis-related products produced therefrom for recreational and medical purposes may not be prohibited under state law but shall be regulated under state law; recognizing that such activities remain unlawful under federal law; providing for the release from incarceration, probation, or parole of all persons whose only conviction(s) were of state laws pertaining to the cultivation, production, distribution, sale, and possession of marijuana or possession of marijuana paraphernalia, and the expungement of records relating to such conviction(s); dividing cannabis into industrial hemp (containing 0.3% or less THC) and marijuana (containing more than 0.3% THC); authorizing both medical and recreational use of marijuana; providing that anyone 21 years of age or older may obtain a marijuana license permitting the person to cultivate, produce, distribute, and sell marijuana and products produced therefrom; providing that a licensed person may cultivate up to 36 cannabis plants in a location not subject to public view without optical aid; providing that sales of recreational marijuana will be subject to existing sales taxes and an additional 5% excise tax; providing that the state shall not impose any tax on the sale of medical marijuana to patients; permitting medical use of marijuana by a person of any age whose physician has recommended such use in writing; providing that the manufacture, possession, purchase, sale, and distribution of marijuana paraphernalia is lawful under state law; and providing that the amendment is not intended to (a) require employers to permit activities relating to marijuana in the workplace, (b) permit driving under the influence of marijuana, (c) permit the transfer of recreational marijuana to anyone under 21 years of age, or (d) permit anyone under 21 years of age to cultivate, produce, sell, possess, or use recreational marijuana.
Rutledge previously approved another proposed constitutional amendment titled, “The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016.” That proposed amendment was submitted by Little Rock lawyer David Couch.