Will Marijuana be Legalized in Arkansas in 2022?
Arkansas only recently got its first operating dispensary, and since then prices and practices have been a huge part of the conversation for the Natural State.
Currently, to get access to marijuana in Arkansas, you need to be an Arkansas medical marijuana patient with a qualifying condition.
A new proposed measure aims to change that, by introducing an additional proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas, which could lower prices and increase options for medical marijuana patients.
Second Proposal for Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in Arkansas
An initiative filed by the Arkansans for Marijuana Reform group aims to legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas for 2022, offering an alternative to the initiative filed by Arkansas True Grass for legalization.
The new initiative would allow residents 21 and older the ability to possess up to four ounces of flower, two ounces of concentrates, and grow up to six mature plants and six seedlings for personal use.
The initiative would also permit the Department of Finance and Administration to regulate and issue marijuana business licenses at a rate of 1 for every 15,000 residents, and no individual or business could hold more than one cultivation license and one dispensary license.
Reportedly, the initiative also allows for record review for those who have received past convictions of possession or sale of up to 16 ounces of marijuana or six plants, though the details of exactly how record expungement would fit into the review are not published yet.
New Proposal for Arkansas Marijuana Legalization Aims to Create Money for State
One unique property to the latest marijuana legalization effort in Arkansas is the involvement of state funds, offering a lucrative opportunity for the state to collect more taxes and funds from cannabis sales.
Similar to the medical marijuana program, where special emergency taxes were created under the pandemic on medical marijuana sales and extended beyond the pandemic, the new initiative would allow the state to levy a specific tax on adult-use cannabis sales.
The tax rate is unspecified at the time, like much of the bulk content of this initiative, as the specifics and fine tuning of the proposal are still ongoing.
However, the initiative would allow the state to divide up excess funds that occur after administrative costs have been covered as follows:
· K-12 Education & After School Programs – 50%
· University of Arkansas Cancer Research and Studies on Cannabis – 40%
· State General Fund – 10%
Legalization Effort Fronted by Former House of Representatives Member & Arkansas NORML Director
The latest initiative submitted to the state includes some more prominent figures in the Arkansas marijuana movement, including former minority leader in the House of Representatives Eddie Armstrong and Arkansas NORML Director Melissa Fults.
Although the initiative was not filed by Arkansas NORML, it’s likely the proposal will garner support from both NORML and its affiliates.
This is a big push for recreational legalization in the Natural State, and when contrasted to the Arkansas True Grass movement this pits an interesting battle for legal buds.
While both initiatives offer personal growing and legal recreational possession, the Arkansas True Grass initiative offers specific expungement opportunities for those convicted of small-scale marijuana crimes, while it appears the latest initiative offers a less detailed “opportunity for review” for offenders.
While this might seem like a very strange comparison, the complex nature of how the prison industry works in the state combined with the burden on the state to review and expunge tens of thousands of marijuana offenses is a logistical nightmare, although a justifiable one.
Arkansas is one of the more divided states on penalizing criminal offenses for marijuana, with reportedly almost 11,000 arrests in 2018 for mostly marijuana possession, and the state increasing its rate of arrest for marijuana possession from 2010-2018 by almost 50%.
Arkansas also has the 15th highest rate of arrest for marijuana possession in the nation, and the state is railing in big bucks on incarcerating and or fining those individuals.
That kind of flow of finance is hard to combat, even legislatively, regardless of racial disparity or even just sound reasoning, it’s likely not a battle the state will give up easily.
This might give the edge to the new recreational initiative, offering a softer approach to “reviewing” former marijuana convictions, rather than out rightly offering expungement, regardless of the moral or justifiable principles.
Legalizing Marijuana for Arkansas in 2022
Regardless of how the initiatives will compete, voters are certainly looking forward to 2022.
With the attention on legalizing recreational marijuana and the popularity of the income from the medical marijuana program, Arkansas very well might see legalization in 2022.
Provided the second initiative passes, the state would be able to levy taxes on recreational cannabis sales that would be prohibited on medical marijuana sales, offering medical marijuana patients possible access to cheaper products.
And because medical marijuana patients are exempt from legal problems when purchasing and possessing their cannabis legally, the program has a solid foundation to build off for a recreational program.
In a world where both recreational and medical marijuana are legalized in Arkansas, patients could take advantage of exclusive medical marijuana products at lower prices, and a recreational program would help to encourage the medical industry to further lower its prices.
It’s shaping up to be a good fight for legalization this next year, and as we wait for the official text of the new initiative, we hope to see recreational marijuana passed and prices lowered for patients in Arkansas.
Become an Arkansas Medical Marijuana Patient
The Arkansas medical marijuana program is currently the only way for residents of the Natural State to access quality cannabis legally, and becoming a medical marijuana patient in Arkansas is easy!
We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way! Feel free to give us a call at 844-249-8714, and we can answer your questions about getting medical marijuana in Arkansas.
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at 844-249-8714, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out Arkansas Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Arkansas.