LITTLE ROCK — Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected proposed ballot items to legalize marijuana for recreational use and create a process for legalizing casino gambling through local elections.
In an opinion dated Monday and released Wednesday, Rutledge said she could not certify the popular name and ballot title of the proposed Arkansas Cannabis Hemp and Recreational Marijuana Amendment of 2018 because of ambiguities in the text.
The request for certification was submitted by Mary Berry of Summit.
Arkansas voters in November approved a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for medicinal use by people with certain medical conditions, but nor for recreational use.
In another opinion dated Monday, Rutledge said she could not certify the popular name and ballot title of a proposed constitutional amendment on casino gambling.
Under the proposal, when at least 3 percent of the voters in a city of at least 28,000 people or a county sign a petition seeking a local vote on casino gambling, a vote must be held in the next general election on whether to allow no more than two businesses to be licensed to operate casinos in that city or county.
The elections could only happen in wet counties. If local voters approved casino gambling, the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division would be required to license casino operators to sell, serve and provide complimentary alcoholic beverages.
Rutledge noted that the proposed ballot title was 990 words long and said she did not believe a court would allow such a lengthy, complex title to stand in the event of a challenge.
The request for certification was submitted by Barry Emigh of Hot Springs. Rutledge noted that the ballot title was shorter than a previous submission from Emigh she rejected, which was about 3,000 words long.