Thursday, June 9, 2016

Petition guide: Marijuana and more ready for voter signatures

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 7:18 AM

The deadline passed this week to publish notice of efforts to change state law or Constitution by voter initiatives and five have been published.

You'll be encountering canvassers (many of them paid) so where are the initiatives you might encounter. These initiatives had been published by the deadline in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

* MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Arkansans for Compassionate Care are circulating a initiated act, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, to legalize dispensation of marijuana for medical use. It includes a limited grow-your-own provision. 

* MEDICAL MARIJUANA:  The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment has a similar aim, but no grow-your-own provision, a factor that many believe led to the narrow defeat of the last ballot effort to legalize some uses of pot.

* TERM LIMITS: The group that initially passed term limits in Arkansas has a petition to return them to where they stood before the legislature changed them through a voter-approved amendment that not only lengthened terms, but opened the door to a fat pay increase and nominally strengthened ethics rules while providing numerous loopholes. Reports on the progress of this campaign have not been optimistic about meeting the signature requirement.

* CASINOS: Private investors are spending to legalize casinos they'd control in Boone, Miller and Washington counties. They may have the money to get the  amendment on the ballot. Existing casinos in Hot Springs and West Memphis won't likely be anxious to help them.

* LAWSUITS: The nursing home lobby is circulating a petition for an amendment  to severely limit damages and legal fees in lawsuits for negligence and malpractice. A very bad idea.

Signatures must be turned in by July 8 — 50,916 for initiated acts and 84,859 for constitutional amendments. There's a "cure" period if canvassers come close enough to the number needed to qualify by the deadline.

NOTED: Backers of an amendment to legalize marijuana for all uses got a ballot title approved by the attorney general and social media indicates they are gathering signatures. I'm trying to find out from them if they met the publication requirement.

UPDATE: Robert Reed, lead backer of the amendment to legalize marijuana, said notice of the amendment was published by the deadline in a statewide newspaper and signature gathering was underway, with 75 participating businesses and many othe volunteers.

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