LITTLE ROCK — A proposed constitutional amendment that would give people the right to privately grow and use marijuana was rejected Tuesday by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.
The attorney general cited a number of ambiguities with the proposal submitted by Little Rock attorney John Wesley Hall of Little Rock, including that it refers to the medical benefits of marijuana even though it would not limit use to medical purposes.
The attorney general also said in his opinion the Arkansas Marijuana Right of Privacy Amendment is "unclear and ambiguous" because it says that possession of up to four ounces of marijuana would be legal under the amendment but does not explain that the protection would fall under the right of privacy.
A section of the proposal also might be interpreted to prohibit the commercial sale or distribution of more than four ounces of marijuana, "but it also might be interpreted to permit — subject to reasonable regulation — commercial sale and distribution of more than four ounces, provided no more than four ounces at a time is sold to an end user," the opinion said.
"The proposal is unclear … with respect to how the General Assembly may regulate distribution leading up to the final point of sale," the opinion said.
Hall said Tuesday he hopes to rewrite and resubmit his proposal. He also said he is working with Arkansans for Compassionate Care to rewrite and resubmit their proposed initiated act that would legalize marijuana for medical use. The attorney general rejected that proposal because of a number of ambiguities.
Another proposal that would legalize marijuana for medical use in Arkansas was certified by McDaniel last month.
The group Arkansans for Responsible Medicine now has until July 7 to collect 62,507 signatures of registered Arkansas voters in order to qualify its proposed initiated act for the November 2014 ballot.
Under the proposal, a patient with a doctor’s certification that he or she suffers from a malady included on a list of conditions that might be helped by marijuana could purchase the drug from dispensaries. The proposal would prohibit people from growing their own marijuana and allow it to be purchased only from state-regulated dispensaries.
The sale of marijuana would be subject to all state and local taxes and all of the taxes collected would be distributed equally among the Newborn Umbilical Cord Blood Bank, a newly created Arkansas Historic Preservation Fund, the Public Health Fund and the Behavioral Health Services Account Fund.
Also last month, the attorney general cited a number of ambiguities in rejecting a proposed initiated act by Arkansans for Compassionate Care to legalize medical marijuana. It was the fourth time since November that the group had its proposal rejected.
The group was successful in 2012 in getting its proposal on the ballot, but voters rejected the measure.