Local governments across Arkansas are the key to implementing the voter-approved Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, but some county and city officials say they have questions about how to do so legally and responsibly.
Others are actively embracing the pot-related facilities because the drug must be grown and dispensed in Arkansas. In Fayetteville, the mayor is helping prospective marijuana facility owners. A spokesman said the mayor is looking forward to the new jobs and increased tax revenue from the facilities.
And so far, no residents appear to be proposing local-option elections to ban medical marijuana stores and growers, according to the associations that represent cities and counties. The amendment allows such popular votes in cities and counties.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, now known as Amendment 98, received 53.11 percent of the popular vote during the November general election. The amendment will allow doctors to recommend the drug for patients suffering from specific medical conditions. Voters supported the amendment in 38 counties and opposed it in 37 counties.
It was most popular in Crittenden County, where it received 61.3 percent of the vote, and least popular in Cleveland County, where it received 42.3 percent of the vote.
“Here at the county, we give drug tests. Now, how is that going to affect us? Say one of our people goes to a doctor and tells them they’ve got pain and they authorize that they can get it. How is that going to affect their job if they take a drug test and it shows up in their system? Another question in this is how this is going to affect [commercial] truck drivers,” said Gary Spears, the county judge for Cleveland County.