Recreational marijuana could be legal in Arkansas if voters approve – FOX13 News Memphis | Media Pyro


ARKANSAS – Arkansas residents are set to vote Tuesday on legalizing recreational marijuana.

It’s a big issue on the ballot, and Arkansas is the first state in the Mid-South to legalize marijuana.

If approved by voters, the state would have to allow dispensaries to begin selling recreational weed by March 2023.

Philip McQuiston, of Memphis, has a medical card.

“I don’t like conventional medicine,” he said. “I think it’s bad for you, my doctor prescribed medicine.”

McQuiston may not need his card to buy weed in Arkansas.

Scott Hardin, with the Arkansas Department of Revenue, said, “It is included in the proposal that the state will have its first license out of the door in March of 2023, which means that dispensaries are selling than entertainment in March.”

Item 4 on the Arkansas ballot asks voters to decide whether to allow anyone over the age of 21 to purchase marijuana. That’s in addition to the prescription drug, which has been sold to the government since 2019.

Ashley Hawkins, director of Green Light of West Memphis, said, “A lot of patients come in with different conditions like fibromyalgia, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD. We’ve seen it all.”

Green Light is one of 38 dispensaries in Arkansas preparing for the so-called “green rush,” hoping to triple their business if recreational activities are approved.

Government officials are also waiting to get involved.

Hardin said, “We’re planning and working hard, and if this is going to pass we need to have the infrastructure in place and be ready at the state level and be ready to put that in, if it’s going to happen soon.”

State officials said Arkansas patients have spent $700 million on prescription drugs since 2019, including $84 million in taxpayer dollars.

The proposed amendment would eliminate taxes on prescription drug users, but impose a nearly 17 percent tax on others.

It’s a change that a study showed could generate an additional $500 million over the next five years.

Currently taxes from medical marijuana go to medical research throughout Arkansas.

Recreational taxes go to law enforcement, drug courts and health care.

Polls in Arkansas close at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Stay tuned to FOX13 for your latest live poll results.

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