Arkansas secretary of state declares proposed cannabis ballot measure insufficient reports

The Arkansas secretary of state has declared a proposed ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana as insufficient for inclusion on the November general election ballot, but court proceedings are expected to continue.

John Thurston, secretary of state, said in the declaration to the Arkansas Supreme Court that the proposed constitutional amendment is insufficient because the State Board of Election Commissioners did not certify the ballot title and popular name.

The declaration was expected to be filed Tuesday with the state Supreme Court, according to Kevin Niehaus, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office. Niehaus said the office believes the declaration is a formality and that he doesn’t believe the declaration will be the final decision regarding the proposed ballot measure.

The state Supreme Court on Monday handed down a per curiam opinion stating the court had issued a writ of mandamus to the secretary of state’s office to decide the sufficiency of the proposed initiative petition. The court ordered the office to file proof of its decision by 4 p.m. today.

Steve Lancaster, counsel for Responsible Growth Arkansas, described the order as a “procedural step” to get clarification from the secretary of state and said he remains confident the court will rule to keep the proposed recreational marijuana amendment on the ballot.

“We see this as the court wanting to check the box that the secretary of state either says the petition is sufficient or insufficient,” Lancaster said.

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