Marijuana expert expects Arkansas measure, others to pass in November October 3, 2022 By Griffin Coop Bruce Barcott, senior editor at Leafly, appeared on nationally syndicated radio show The Takeaway Monday to discuss legalization measures in five states, including Arkansas, and said he expects all of them to pass. Barcott, author of “Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America,” said he expects measures in all five states to pass in November. In addition to Arkansas, voters in Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Maryland will consider legalizing marijuana for adult use. Since Washington and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana 10 years ago, 17 other states have followed. Nationally, support has increased steadily for marijuana use with 60-65% of people supporting adult use marijuana and more than 90% supporting medical use. Pre-election polling shows Arkansas and Missouri support their measures at about 60%, Barcott said, although he said the race is a little tighter in South Dakota. Barcott said most marijuana measures pass at the ballot box, so the biggest hurdles to legalization often occur before and after the election. “You almost have to write an actively bad measure to have it fail,” he said. Arkansas’s experience with legalization this year sounds familiar to the experience Barcott described in other states. In Arkansas, three groups have formed to oppose the legalization measure and two intervened in a Supreme Court lawsuit regarding the case. One of the groups has raised $2 million and has released a TV ad focused on the dangers of legalization. Nationwide, legalization opponents have also made it more difficult for citizens to put an initiative on the ballot, Barcott said. In Arkansas, Responsible Growth Arkansas, the industry-backed sponsor of the legalization amendment, faced challenges gathering signatures for its measure because of changes the state legislature made to the initiative process. The changes, for instance, required canvassers to be Arkansans and required that they be paid by the hour rather than by the signature. Arkansas voters will also consider a measure in November will ask voters to require future initiatives to get at least 60% of the votes cast to be approved. Some states have seen challenges after ballot measures pass on Election Day, Barcott said. South Dakota voters, for instance, approved adult use marijuana two years ago but a court challenge nullified the vote. South Dakota voters will consider a different measure in November. Barcott said people across a wide range of demographics support legalization and said the only age group that doesn’t have at least 50% support is people 75 and older. While Democrats tend to support legalization more than Republicans, it’s not an “either/or” issue, he said. Even support among churchgoers is over 50%, Barcott said.