Nov. 17, 2015

Second Poll Shows Support for Medical Marijuana
A second statewide poll found growing support among Arkansas residents for allowing marijuana use for medical purposes.

The Arkansas Poll, released Nov. 4, revealed a shift in the public's thinking about medical marijuana. In 2012, 44 percent of respondents to the Arkansas Poll said they approved of a ballot measure allowing marijuana use for medical purposes and 52 percent opposed it. The ballot issue barely failed.

In this year's Arkansas Poll, 68 percent of respondents said they were in favor of allowing patients to use marijuana for medical purposes if supported by their medical doctor and 26 percent opposed it. The poll was conducted last month and included 800 telephone interviews.  

An August survey by Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College also showed support for the concept of physician-prescribed medical marijuana. In a survey of 400 registered voters, the poll found 84 percent of participants agreed with legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. 

A group is currently circulating petitions to put a medical marijuana issue on the 2016 ballot. Two additional groups are pursuing ballot measures to legalize the growth and sale of marijuana in general. Information about those ballot issues can be found below.

Get engaged. Get informed. Over the next several months, the Public Policy Center will research all referred ballot issues, and will publish fact sheets and other educational materials about the issues ahead of the November 2016 election.  

Legislators have referred three constitutional amendments to voters. The language of those amendments can be found below.

There are multiple efforts by citizens to put issues on the 2016 ballot as well. Petitions circulating in the state for the 2016 ballot include proposals regarding term limits, alcohol sales, election requirements for legalizing alcohol sales, limiting the number of amendments the legislature can refer to the public, and the inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation as a protected class under state law. 

We welcome your questions, which could be included in future ballot issue Q&As. Send us your question to publicpolicycenter@uaex.edu.


The Public Policy Center will continue to follow these issues and keep you updated on the 2016 ballot measures.

Be Ahead of the Curve - Discover 2016 Ballot Issue Information

Legislative Ballot Issues

Read up on the three ballot issues referred by the legislature.

Attorney General Opinions

Find out what ballot issues are coming from citizen petitions and have been approved for signature gathering.
News About Ballot Issues

Click here for mentions of ballot issues or election law on news blogs and websites.


 
Did you know?
Benton County is moving toward using voting centers for elections next year. If approved, Benton County voters could cast their ballot at a "voting center," or a central location open to any county voter instead of their assigned local polling site. Election officials say this will cut down on the number of election workers and polling sites they will need. The county's Election Commission approved the change, which must also receive approval from the Quorum Court and Secretary of State. The proposal will be addressed at the Nov. 19 Quorum Court meeting.  


AGopinions
Looking Forward - Potential 2016 Ballot Issues from Citizens
Attorney General Opinions

The Attorney General is responsible for reviewing the language and titles of potential ballot issues submitted to voters by the public. Ballot issue groups can circulate petitions only after the Attorney General verifies that the ballot title and popular name honestly, intelligibly and fairly describe the purpose of a proposed constitutional amendment or act. The following are recent Attorney General opinions regarding potential ballot issues:
 
Rejected Ballot Proposals

Oct. 26, 2015 - The Arkansas Cannabis Amendment A proposal to legalize the cultivation, production, distribution, sale, possession and use of the cannabis plant and products derived from the plant statewide was rejected for a second time because of ambiguities in the text. The proposal is similar to a proposed amendment certified in November 2014 called "The Arkansas Hemp and Marijuana Amendment," but includes a new provision that would release people incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana offenses.   Opinion No. 122  cited eight problems in the proposal that needed to be addressed. The proposal was submitted by Mary L. Berry of Summit.  


Ballot proposals approved for signature gathering

Nov. 2, 2015 -  Reducing From 3 to 1 the Number of Constitutional Amendments That May Be Proposed by the General Assembly Under Article 19, Section 22 - The sponsor of an approved proposed amendment resubmitted the measure with a different ballot title. The Attorney General found the title to be inaccurate and again changed the ballot title to what is listed above. Frederick N. Scott, a spokesperson for the Little Red Hen Committee, submitted the measure, according to Opinion No. 2015-124.

Oct. 5, 2015 - Reducing Constitutional Amendments Proposed by the General Assembly Under Article 19, Section 22 of the Arkansas Constitution - The sponsor of an amendment approved in September resubmitted the measure with a different ballot title. The Attorney General found the title to be misleading and again changed it to the previously approved title "Reducing Constitutional Amendments Proposed by the General Assembly Under Article 19, Section 22 of the Arkansas Constitution." The proposal is identical to the Sept. 8, 2015 measure and was also submitted by Frederick N. Scott of the Little Red Hen Committee, according to Opinion No. 2015-115.

Sept. 8, 2015 - Reducing Constitutional Amendments Proposed by the General Assembly Under Article 19, Section 22 of the Arkansas Constitution - A proposal seeking to reduce the number of constitutional amendments the state legislature could send to voters was approved for signature gathering after a similar proposal (Curtain Amendments) was rejected in August. The proposal would allow legislators to send one constitutional amendment to the voters instead of three, according to Opinion No. 2015-107. Frederick N. Scott of the Little Red Hen Committee submitted the measure. 

Aug. 6, 2015 - Arkansas Term Limits Amendment of 2016 - A proposal to reduce the number of years a state senator or representative can serve in office was certified for signature gathering, according to Opinion No. 2015-089. The proposal would repeal Amendment 94, which voters passed in 2014 and set term limits of 16 years for members of the General Assembly. Brenda V. Taylor, an attorney in Fayetteville, submitted the measure.

July 24, 2015 - The Campaign Finance Act of 2016 - This previously approved ballot proposal to create campaign spending disclosure requirements was recertified after a new, less confusing ballot title was submitted. The Attorney General had said the original title would require the voter to be an expert in campaign-finance regulation to understand the proposed changes. The newer version was an attempt to better explain the effect of the measure. David Couch of Little Rock submitted the new version. Paul Spencer, chairman of the Regnat Populus Ballot Question Committee submitted the original measure.

March 31, 2015 An Act Amending The Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993 - A proposal to amend state law to include sexual orientation and gender identity to groups protected from discrimination under the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993 was certified for signature gathering, according to Opinion No. 2015-029. Jack Michael Weir III of Little Rock submitted the measure.

March 30, 2015 An Act Concerning Local Option (Wet-Dry) Elections - A proposal to reduce the number of signatures required to call a local option (wet-dry) election from 38 percent of qualified electors to 20 percent of qualified electors was certified for signature gathering, according to Opinion No. 2015-026. David Couch of Little Rock submitted the measure. 

Feb. 3, 2015 - The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment - A constitutional amendment to legalize the manufacturing and sale of alcohol statewide was certified for signature gathering, according to Opinion No. 2015-12. David Couch of Little Rock submitted the measure.

Nov. 3, 2014 - The Arkansas Hemp and Marijuana Amendment - A constitutional amendment to legalize the cultivation, pro duction, distribution, sale, purchase, possession and use of the cannabis plant in Arkansas was certified for signature gathering, according to  Opinion No. 2014-119 Mary L. Berry of Summit submitted the measure.

Aug. 5, 2014 - The Arkansas Hemp and Cannabis Amendment  - A constitutional amendment to legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, sale, possession and use of the cannabis plant in Arkansas was certified for signature gathering, according to  Opinion No. 2014-079 . Frederick W. Porter of Hot Springs submitted the measure.

Aug. 14, 2014The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act  - A ballot measure to legalize the use of medical marijuana, and a system for growing and selling medical marijuana was certified for signature gathering. The ballot measure was similar to a recent proposal that did not receive enough signatures for the 2014 ballot. In  Opinion No. 2014-086 , the Attorney General cautioned the group that "according to my experience there is a direct correlation between the length and complexity of initiated acts and their susceptibility to a successful ballot title challenge."  Melissa Fults, campaign director of Arkansans for Compassionate Care 2016, submitted the measure.   

NewsIn the News
News organizations from across the state have been reporting on ballot measures and Arkansas election/voting issues. Here are links to stories we have come across:


Legislators are able to refer up to three constitutional amendments to the voters every general election. You can find the full text of each proposal and information about their sponsors below.


HJR1027 - Proposing an Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Concerning The Terms, Election, And Eligibility of Elected Officials 

Read the Legislative bill

___________________________________________________________________________________

SJR3 - An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to Allow the Governor to Retain His or Her Powers and Duties When Absent from the State

Read the Legislative bill

___________________________________________________________________________________

SJR16 - An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to Encourage Job Creation, Job Expansion, and Economic Development

Read the Legislative bill


Stay Connected