Arkansans for Compassionate Care

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Arkansas: Court Disqualifies Issue 7 Medical Marijuana Proposal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Arkansas Supreme Court has disqualified a medical marijuana proposal from the November ballot, but voters will still be able to consider a different plan.

The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, or Issue 7, was the disqualified proposal. Issue 6 remains on the ballot.

Issue 7 was invalidated because the court determined that supporters did not gather enough qualified signatures. The court disallowed more than 12,000 signatures, leaving 65,412 valid signatures. That was 2,465 short of the required number.

The court cited five reasons for five listed reasons:

1. Some of the petition gatherers did not comply with Arkansas laws on who can become a canvasser.
2. The signatures did not include an address, or included only a P.O. Box address.
3. The canvasser verified the petition before the voter signed it.
4. The canvasser checked an improper box.
5. Canvassers did not specifically witness the signatures.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care said Thursday it will fight the decision by the state Supreme Court to disqualify Issue 7. It was not clear how the group would fight the move since the decision took effect immediately.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Measure Makes November Ballot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Arkansas Secretary of State's office confirmed last week that the state's medical marijuana measure, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, had submitted enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

The measure would allow for medical marijuana to be produced, tested, and distributed to patients diagnosed by a physician. One of over 50 qualifying conditions would allow patients to access a medical marijuana card. The measure would allow for 38 licensed nonprofit care centers. Patients that wish to grow their own pot must receive a 'hardship certificate' that states they do not live a reasonable distance from one of the care centers.

This will not be the first time Arkansans have voted for legalization.A similar measure was brought to the ballot in 2012, but lost, winning only 48 percent of the vote. Advocates say this time will be different, with polls in the area showing 84 percent support.

Arkansas adds its name to the list of eight (possibly nine) states voting on marijuana initiatives this fall. Florida and Missouri join Arkansas in voting for medical marijuana access. Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine, Arizona, and California are all voting on adult recreational use. Michigan’s measure remains in litigation after the state dubbed their signatures “stale.”

Arkansas: Group Submits 117K Signatures To Get Medical Marijuana On Ballot

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Supporters of medical marijuana in Arkansas turned in thousands of signatures Monday in an effort to put their proposal on the state's ballot this fall.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care submitted 117,469 signatures to the secretary of state's office while calling on backers of a competing ballot to end their campaign.

The secretary of state's office has 30 days to review the petitions and determine whether the group has the 67,887 valid signatures needed to get their act on the ballot. It would legalize marijuana for patients with a qualifying condition with a doctor's recommendation.

“The patients of Arkansas deserve a safer alternative,” Melissa Fults, the group’s campaign director, said at a news conference at the Capitol. “They should not have to choose between treating their illnesses or breaking the law.”

Arkansas voters narrowly missed approving a proposal to legalize medical marijuana four years ago. Fults said she believes the support for medical marijuana is still strong, but urged backers of a competing proposal to drop their campaign and join her group’s effort.

Putting both measures on the ballot “will absolutely cause both to fail,” Fults said.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Advocates Scramble To Collect Signatures To Legalize

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates in Arkansas are scrambling to meet a July 8 deadline to submit petitions for medical marijuana legalization. They worry that competing measures may divide support for the issue.

"It will be enough to split the vote and both will fail," said Melissa Fults, campaign director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

Fults says her group has gathered over 70,000 valid signatures from registered voters, well over the 67,887 required to get the act on the ballot. They plan to continue gathering signatures to ensure that any duplicate or invalid signatures are taken into consideration.

The Arkansans for Compassionate Care had their initiative approved by former Attorney General Dustin McDaniel in September of 2014, and the group has been gathering signatures and support ever since.

David Couch, the Little Rock lawyer behind a competing medical marijuana proposal, says he's not worried about the prospect of both measures being on the ballot. Couch said he's gathered support from more than 40,000 registered voters, nearly half of the 84,859 required to put his plan on the ballot. Because his proposal would be a constitutional amendment, it requires more signatures.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Proposal Cleared To Gather Signatures

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The wording of a proposal to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas was approved on Thursday by state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, and supporters are now gathering signatures to qualify for next year's ballot.

The group will need 62,507 signatures from registered voters in order to appear on the November 2014 ballot, reports The Associated Press.

Atty. Gen. McDaniel certified the wording of the proposal from Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the same group behind an initiative that was narrowly rejected (49 percent yes, 51 percent no) by voters last year.

The proposal would allow authorized patients with qualifying conditions to buy cannabis from nonprofit dispensaries or to grow their own marijuana if they don't have reasonable access to transportation to a dispensary. Sales tax revenues from the dispensaries would first cover the costs of administering the program, and the remainder would be split evenly between the Newborn Umbilical Cord Initiative Fund and state drug education programs.

A separate proposal, from the group Arkansans for Responsible Marijuana, includes similar provisions and was certified by the Attorney General in August, but unlike the proposal certified on Thursday, the other measure would not allow patients to grow their own marijuana.

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