Arkansas Ballot Will Offer a New Test for Medical Marijuana

Republicans control all of Arkansas’ statewide offices, hold a majority in both chambers of the Legislature and are nearly assured of winning the state’s six electoral votes in the presidential election.

But this deeply red state could be on the verge of an unusually liberal move: legalizing marijuana for people who suffer from a host of medical ailments. The fall ballot will feature two marijuana measures, and pro-pot advocates view them as an important opportunity to show that there is broad support for legalization even in conservative parts of the country, particularly the South.

The referendums also offer a chance at a symbolically powerful victory in a state with a Republican governor who once led the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

“If a red conservative state like Arkansas in the Bible Belt can pass medical cannabis, then anybody can,” said Melissa Fults, who leads the campaign for one of the medical marijuana proposals going before voters. “People are depending on us. We can’t let them down.”

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