Arkansas voters rejected a ballot question to legalize cannabis for adult use by a 56.2% to 43.8% majority. Commercial sales and possession by those over 21 would have been permitted under the proposed legislation.
In addition to making recreational marijuana use legal, the proposed amendment would have awarded most of the lucrative growing and selling licenses to the state’s already established medicinal marijuana enterprises.
Issue 4 would have maintained the prohibition on the cultivation of marijuana plants in private residences and the amendment would have made no allowances for the expungement of prior convictions.
Many lifelong cannabis advocates found those aspects frustrating.
According to BallotPedia, the final results were 391,116 at 43.72% in favor of legalization and a final tally of 503,394 at 56.28% rejecting legalization.
Arkansas was one of five states voting on legalizing marijuana. If it had passed, it would have been the 20th state in the United States to legalize adult-use cannabis.
Several state lawmakers opposed the legislation, including incoming Republican governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and re-elected Republican U.S. senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton. Asa Hutchinson (R), who served as governor of Arkansas before Huckabee Sanders, likewise stated his intention to vote against the bill.
Sales of medical marijuana in Arkansas, where the practice is allowed, have increased significantly this year compared to the previous year. Sales of medicinal marijuana in Arkansas have reached $205 million so far in 2022, up from $264.9 million in 2021, according to an article in Ganjapreneur.