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What's next for recreational marijuana in Arkansas?

Arkansas voters decided against passing issue 4 on legalizing recreational marijuana— despite that setback, there are some groups already looking ahead to 2024.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — On Tuesday night, voters decided against passing Issue Four to legalize recreational marijuana, but despite that setback, some have already begun to look ahead to 2024.

A lot of Arkansans have been left to wonder what's coming next in the ongoing push to bring recreational marijuana to the state.

"I think there were a lot of people in Arkansas that said, they were for recreational marijuana, but not for issue four,” said Jerry Cox with the Family Council Action Committee.

Cox explained that he was glad to see that Arkansans voted against Issue 4 and said that though he and marijuana advocate, Melissa Fults, don't normally don’t see eye to eye, in this case, they did.

“There were so many things wrong with it, it would take quite a while to list all of them,” said Fults.

Fults is the Executive Director for Arkansans for Cannabis Reform and she explained that moving forward she and Cox will actually be parting ways.

“Under no false illusions, he will be on the other side of the fence this time, and we'll have to battle him,” said Fults. “But I think they know that recreational is coming.”

Meanwhile, Cox hopes that marijuana doesn't appear on the ballot again, and said he actually believes it won’t because of funding.

"Who's going to put up that kind of money next time around to try to pass a similar measure, knowing that they may fail," said Cox.

Fults has already begun to work on something for 2024.

“We've been working on an amendment that would be fair and equitable, that will offer competition in the state will fix the medical program will have an expungement will allow for some home grow,” said Fults.

Fults is confident that it won't be difficult to get marijuana on the ballot again especially since Issue Two didn't pass.

“It's always been the majority rules and that's what it should be. Issue two would have ruined, you know, would have destroyed that,” said Fults.

When we reached out to Responsible Growth Arkansas, the group behind the issue, they sent us the following statement:

"Responsible Growth Arkansas was committed to responsibly expanding the adult use of cannabis in Arkansas, attempting to become the first southern state to pass this through a citizens' driven initiative on the ballot. While hundreds of thousands of Arkansans supported this effort it came up short in the end. We thank all those who worked to place this initiative on the ballot and supported our campaign with their voice and their vote."


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