LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — The House of Representatives voted to end the federal ban on marijuana on Friday.
The proposed bill calls for eliminating criminal penalties related to marijuana and for establishing a process to clear criminal records.
It still has to go to the Senate to be voted on and then signed by the President before it becomes law.
In Arkansas, the same conversations are being had. Should we legalize marijuana?
"You know, our focus should be right now in making the most proactive steps we can to legalize it for Arkansas," said Eddie Armstrong, Chairman of Responsible Growth Arkansas.
If it were to get on the ballot and Arkansans voted to pass it, it would legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults.
It would also use portions of the tax dollars for the state court and law enforcement systems, reform existing drug laws, and remove taxes from our medical marijuana program.
"It's much bigger than that. It's an opportunity for people to have a pathway to work, reinvestments in communities that were most impacted by drug crimes of the past," said Armstrong.
Responsible Growth Arkansas has 35,000 signatures so far. They have to get more than 89,000 signatures before July to qualify.
If the petition can get the number of signatures required, it will then go to the election commission where they will either approve or deny if it gets on the ballot.
Scott Hardin with the Medical Marijuana Commission said the drug has already brought in about $600 million for the state since it was legalized in 2016.
And while Armstrong said what lawmakers in Washington are doing is a step in the right direction, it's going to to take time, adding that Arkansans have the power to make it happen.
"Set our rules and parameters in place and then allow for whatever should take place at the federal level to be an overlay to what we are already trying to implement," said Armstrong.
There are five recreational marijuana petitions trying to get on the ballot for the 2022 elections.