Arkansas Court Approves Marijuana Ballot Title

     (CN) – The Arkansas Supreme Court approved a medical marijuana measure appearing on the state’s November general election ballot on Thursday. If passed by voters, Arkansas will become the first southern state to approve such a measure.
     The court denied a petition by the Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values that deemed the proposed Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act as having a “popular name and ballot title” that is legally insufficient. It asked the court to hold that, if enacted, the measure would conflict with the state and federal constitutions and would violate state and federal law.
     Writing for the court, Associate Justice Karen R. Baker was not persuaded by the CPAV’s arguments against the measure’s length, lack of definitions, misleading terms and omission of key words and phrases.
     “Here, after reviewing the ballot title of 384 words, we conclude that the title informs the voters in an intelligible, honest, and impartial manner of the substantive matter of the Act,” she wrote. “The ballot title is not unduly long, nor is it complex or misleading.”
     The 15-page opinion continues: “Although CPAV asserts that terms must be defined in the ballot title of the Act, we disagree. A ballot title need not define every single term. CPAV has not met its burden of proving that the ballot title is misleading or insufficient.”
     Baker also disagreed that the measure’s popular name was misleading and legally insufficient.
     “Here, the popular name, ‘Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act,’ consists of four words,” she wrote. “Each word is one that the voters are familiar with, commonly use, understand, and the words are presented in an intelligible, honest, impartial manner. The terms explain to voters the topic of the
     proposal: medicinal use of marijuana.”
     Regarding the measure conflicting with existing state and federal laws, Baker wrote the court is constrained to only examine whether the measure will be “clearly contrary”
     to the state and U.S. constitutions, something CPAV has failed to provide any evidence towards.”CPAV has asked this court to hold the Act unconstitutional based on hypothetical scenarios that may occur in the future, if the Act becomes a law,” Baker wrote. “We decline to do so. After reviewing the Act and CPAV’s arguments, we hold that CPAV has failed to meet its burden to demonstrate that the Act clearly conflicts with any constitutional provision.”

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