LITTLE ROCK — Supporters of a proposed ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas have not reached the signature threshold to secure a spot on the November ballot but have qualified for time to collect more signatures, according to the secretary of state’s office.

LITTLE ROCK — Supporters of a proposed ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas have not reached the signature threshold to secure a spot on the November ballot but have qualified for time to collect more signatures, according to the secretary of state’s office.


A spokesman for the office said Thursday that 72,309 of the signatures Little Rock lawyer David Couch submitted earlier this month have been verified as valid signatures of registered Arkansas voters. A proposed constitutional amendment needs 84,850 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.


But Couch and his supporters did qualify for a 30-day cure period to gather more signatures and argue that invalidated signatures are valid, according to the secretary of state’s office.


"I’m excited," Couch said Thursday. "We’ve been collecting ever since we turned in. I currently have in hand more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. We’re going to probably collect another week or two to get a little bit of a cushion and then we’ll probably turn it in in about two weeks."


Couch’s proposal, if placed on the ballot and approved by voters, would allow the creation of up to eight marijuana cultivation facilities and up to 40 marijuana dispensaries. An independent citizens commission would determine who would be awarded licenses to operate the for-profit facilities, with no one individual allowed to own an interest in more than one.


The dispensaries could provide marijuana to patients who have certain medical conditions, if the patients have doctors’ recommendations and registry identification cards issued by the Health Department.


The Health Department would be responsible for maintaining an electronic database to keep track of who is receiving marijuana and how much they receive. The state Alcohol Beverage Control Division would be responsible for inspecting the dispensaries and cultivation facilities to make sure they comply with all applicable rules and regulations.


Marijuana sales would be subject to all state and local taxes, with tax revenue being divided among vocational and technical institutes, 50 percent; the state General Revenue Fund, 30 percent; a fund for workforce skills training, 10 percent; the Health Department, 5 percent; the administrative division of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, 2 percent; the enforcement division of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, 2 percent; and the new citizens commission, 1 percent.


The proposed constitutional amendment states that any of its provisions except the ones making medical marijuana legal and allowing the creation of cultivation facilities and dispensaries can be changed by the state Legislature with a two-thirds vote.


A rival measure to legalize medical marijuana, a proposed initiated act sponsored by the group Arkansans for Compassionate Care, qualified for the ballot last month. That proposal would allow a person who lives more than 20 miles from a marijuana dispensary to grow a limited amount of marijuana at home — a provision that is the main source of disagreement between the backers of the rival measures.


The Christian conservative Family Council Action Committee has said it will campaign against any medical-marijuana measures that make the ballot.