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Lawsuit Filed After Arkansas Election Board Rejects Legalization Measure

“The ... Election Commissioners incorrectly rejected the ballot title and thus thwarted the will of the people”


Responsible Growth Arkansas officials on Friday filed an appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court to overturn the decision by the state Board of Election Commissioners, reports the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. The commissioners on August 4 removed a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize adult-use marijuana from November‘s ballot.

Attorney Steve Lancaster, for RGA, said Friday that the group is filing a petition to the Arkansas Supreme Court to overturn the decision made by Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners earlier this week. 

“After nearly 200,000 Arkansans signed Responsible Growth Arkansas’ petition, the State Board of Election Commissioners incorrectly rejected the ballot title and thus thwarted the will of the people and their freedom to adopt laws by initiative,” Lancaster said.

“Thwarting the Will of the People”

Last week, the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office certified that RGA collected enough valid signatures from registered voters to qualify the proposal for the ballot.

RGA accuses the board of “thwarting of the will of the people and their right to adopt laws by initiative.”

Members had raised concerns about supposed voter confusion over THC limits and owner background checks, reports Marijuana Moment.

“That ‘power lies at the heart of our democratic institutions,’” the lawsuit states. “The Board has attacked that heart through its incorrect rejection of the ballot title.”

Election Board Took “Overly Stringent Approach”

According to the suit, Arkansas officials violated the state constitution and ignored prior Supreme Court precedent. The lawsuit states officials chose “to apply an overly stringent approach that denied the wishes of hundreds of thousands of Arkansans to have the opportunity to vote on the Amendment.”

The campaign also filed a motion for expedited consideration of the lawsuit. The November election is just three months away, and ballots need to be printed ahead of time. The deadline to certify amendments to qualify for the ballot to county officials is on August 25. The Arkansas Supreme Court isn’t currently scheduled to meet before then, reports KARK.

Earlier this week, Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson — no less than a former Drug Enforcement Administration director — suggested police help campaign against it, reports Benzinga.

Should they win in court and qualify the measure, advocates feel confident that voters will approve it this November. The campaign was able to gather more than double the required signatures for ballot placement.

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