The Arkansas Supreme Court disqualified Issue No. 7 from the ballot this morning after finding an insufficient number of signatures that are required for an issue to be placed on the ballot.
Issue No. 7 would have regulated and legalized the use of medicinal marijuana in Arkansas despite the drug’s current illegal status under federal law.
Kara Benca, a lawyer based in Little Rock, challenged the validity of the amount of signatures submitted and petitioned to have the issue removed from the ballot.
“Because we conclude that the total number of signatures which should have been counted by respondent falls below the statutory minimum, we grant the petition,” Associate Justice Karen Baker said in the court’s opinion.
The statutory minimum number of signatures required is approximately 68,000.
Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the ballot initiative sponsor of the issue, submitted over 100,000 signatures to get the issue on the ballot, according to the court’s opinion.
Signatures obtained by registered voters are considered valid.
About 78,000 of those signatures were originally validated by the Arkansas Secretary of State.
After reexamination of the signatures, over 12,000 of the originally validated signatures were invalidated, leaving the amount of validated signatures under the required threshold by about 2,000 signatures.