Nov 9, 2022 - Politics

Voters reject recreational marijuana legalization in Arkansas

Illustration of a marijuana leaf shown in the negative space of many leaves.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Recreational marijuana remains illegal in Arkansas after voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed licensed dispensaries to sell to anyone ages 21 and up and decriminalized possessing up to 1 ounce, the Associated Press reported.

Context: Polls indicate a majority of Arkansans support legalization. However, some pro-legalization politicians and advocates encouraged voters to reject Issue 4, arguing it would give money and concentrated power to the marijuana industry while failing to do enough to help those historically hurt by anti-marijuana laws.

  • The proposed law would have taxed recreational marijuana at 16.5% and not decriminalized growing marijuana at home for personal use.

What happened: The amendment was a citizen-led ballot initiative. Responsible Growth Arkansas gathered enough signatures from registered voters to get the issue on the ballot. The state Board of Election Commissioners denied certification of the amendment, a decision that was overturned by the Arkansas Supreme Court in September.

State of play: Medical marijuana-only remains the law of the land in Arkansas. People 18 and up (plus minors with parents or guardians who apply to be caregivers) can legally purchase marijuana from licensed dispensaries with a medical marijuana card.


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