Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston has declared that the state’s cannabis legalization ballot measure is insufficient due to the State Board of Election Commissioners’ decision to not certify the initiative’s popular name and ballot title. The measure, if passed, would legalize cannabis for recreational use by adults over 21 years of age. However, it has now been set back by these recent developments.
The SBEC rejected the initiative’s title and popular name in early August but activists pushed back, filing an appeal with the state Supreme Court. Responsible Growth Arkansas, the group behind the measure, said the board’s request was unreasonable and would make the ballot title too long.
Attorney Steve Lancaster, who represents Responsible Growth Arkansas said in a statement, “The type of detail that the board expected, or demanded in this case, would make our ballot title thousands and thousands of words long. That just simply is not workable for a ballot.”
On September 13, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus ordering the secretary of state to decide the sufficiency of a ballot measure to legalize cannabis for recreational use by adults over 21 years of age.
The measure had been denied certification by the State Board of Election Commissioners due to the board’s concerns about the measure’s popular name and ballot title. The secretary of state was ordered to file proof of the decision by Wednesday, September 14.