LITTLE ROCK — The sponsor of a disqualified ballot issue on medical marijuana is asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling from last week that no votes cast for the measure may be counted.
Arkansans for Compassionate Care filed a petition for rehearing with the state’s top court Monday, four days after the court ruled 5-2 that thousands of signatures that were submitted in support of Issue 7, a proposed initiated act to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas, should not have been validated by the secretary of state’s office because supporters did not comply with requirements for the use of paid canvassers.
The court’s action left one measure to legalize medical-marijuana on the ballot: Issue 6, a proposed constitutional amendment.
The petition by Arkansans for Compassionate Care argues that the Arkansas Legislature has imposed unwarranted restrictions on the right of citizens to initiate ballot measures by creating burdensome requirements for the use of paid canvassers.
The petition also argues that Arkansans for Compassionate Care was unfairly denied a 30-day cure period to collect additional signatures because its initial submission was deemed sufficient, whereas supporters of Issue 6 were granted a cure period because their initial submission was deemed insufficient.
That outcome is “arbitrary” and rewards “gaming the system” by holding back some signatures from the initial submission, the petition states.
Melissa Fults, campaign manager for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said in a statement Monday, “We are filing for a rehearing today because we believe sick and dying patients in Arkansas deserve to have an option to vote for a medical cannabis program that was designed for protecting patients.”
Early voting for the Nov. 8 general election began Oct. 24.