Arkansas True Grass reignites fight for marijuana legalization
The fight for recreational marijuana legalization in Arkansas has been reignited and the advocacy group that failed to get legalization on the ballot four years ago is hoping to give voters in the state the opportunity to legalize once and for all. Arkansas True Grass failed to get a recreational marijuana amendment on the ballot for the 2018 midterm elections. The group has started collecting signatures and needs 89,151 verified signatures if they hope to get the amendment on the ballot for a vote.
The Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment of 2022 will permit the recreational sale of marijuana and expand the numbers of businesses permitted to sell cannabis. In fact, the amendment would make an unlimited amount of “affordable” business licenses available, issued by the Department of Agriculture. Individual consumers over the age of 21 would be permitted to purchase up to four ounces of marijuana a day and grow up to 12 plants in their homes.
Experts believe that introducing recreational marijuana to the state’s economy would drive down the prices of prescription marijuana. Recreational sales will be taxed at a higher rate than medical cannabis. Recreational marijuana is subject to the existing sales tax, an additional eight percent excise tax, and a five percent local tax. Under the new amendment, medical marijuana will not face any new taxes.
Arkansas voters passed their state’s medical marijuana program in 2016. Spokeswoman for True Grass Briana Boling believes that Arkansas is not good for patients due to the unaffordable costs for prescriptions. She also notes that some qualifying residents can’t even afford to see a doctor.
The amendment is ambitious when compared to other recreational marijuana efforts made by states in the past. Similarly to other efforts, the amendment would expunge marijuana-related convictions. Many states have either not legalized home growing, or limited the number of plants per individual to six. True Grass’ proposal permits 12. Changes to the amendment will likely be made prior to voters considering it on the November 2022 ballot. The deadline to submit petitions is July 8, 2022.