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How Much Longer Must Arkansas Remain Arcane? The state of Arkansas marijuana policy is indeed unfathomable and mysterious. There seems to be sufficient public support to legitimize weed dispensary trade. However there is sufficient power in the hands of powerful individuals to slow down the process. In Arkansas, this is moving like a goods train crawling up into the Ouachita Highlands. There has been little coordinated effort to decriminalize weed in what locals call their land of opportunity. There are also no officially sanctioned medical marijuana dispensary. That’s said the light of freedom has flickered intermittently in the past decade from time to time, as this short history of the liberation process reveals. •

In 2006, Eureka Springs decided possession was a low police priority, with a summons the preferred prosecution route for those found in possession of a small quantity. Nobody may go to jail there. Sanctions are restricted to community service, a fine, or low-level brainwashing.

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From September 2011 onwards the State passed a series of reforms that effectively reduced punishment for low-level drug offences. Democratic Governor Mike Beebe who signed the law backed it strongly.

The current status quo reduces a first offence from a felony to a misdemeanor, with the possibility of deferred sentencing. The victim does however still lose their driver license for six months, regardless of whether the weed strain was obtained from an undercover medical marijuana outlet or not. Many leading Arkansas citizens have been pleading for a weed review for some time, not the least of them retired Colonel Marjorie Le Clair who represents the voters in Shirley. In 2012, her attempts at a ballot failed when the positives only yielded 49%. However, the brave soldier has not given up. Her proposal for an Arkansas Cannabis and Hemp Study Act would exonerate all those who signed up for a ten-year study of marijuana benefits - in terms of medical and agricultural use - from prosecution. This is likely to include thirty marijuana dispensaries State-wide, with siting subject to local resident approval. Her prophetic vision allows for medical sufferers and their carers to tend their own weed for exclusive use. She came so close last year. With a little more push, the 49 / 51 loss could easily turn around, and more.


Unfortunately for law-abiding citizens who wish they could stroll down to a legal medical cannabis dispensaries, and purchase a small supply of medical marijuana to alleviate their pain, there is one more bridge to cross before the people can speak their voice. That impediment is Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who has a reputation for dispensing stern justice. At the time of writing McDaniel is holding up the Colonel’s bill based on technical ambiguities that have little if anything to do with the desperate need to make medical marijuana available to those in pain. And hold it up the Attorney General can. He must accept the wording from a technical perspective before the citizens may vote. He says he is concerned about how marijuana tax will work. Some suggest he might have another reason. Does he not understand that medical marijuana is cheaper than mainline medicine? This could save money for him to spend on more worthy crusades, of which we believe he has many.

How Much Longer Must Arkansas Remain Arcane?  

The state of Arkansas marijuana policy is indeed unfathomable and mysterious. There seems to be sufficient public support to legitimize weed...

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