Arkansas – Campaigns make last push before petition deadline

by The Associated PressThe Courier
Beyond fireworks, American flags and barbecue, be prepared for another sight at Arkansas’ Fourth of July festivals and parades this weekend: Someone asking for signatures.

Supporters of efforts to raise the state’s minimum wage, legalize medical and recreational uses of marijuana and expand alcohol sales are making a last push to gather signatures over the holiday weekend as they near the deadline to submit petitions to the state.

Groups campaigning for the four ballot initiatives said they’re hopeful they’ll be able to turn in more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot on Monday, and plan to spend the next few days gathering and counting signatures. Dozens of paid workers and volunteers will be fanning out across the state at various events over the weekend.

“To tell you the honest truth, the Fourth of July will either make us or break us,” said Melissa Fults, who heads up Arkansans for Compassionate Care, which hopes to get its initiated act legalizing medical marijuana on the November ballot. “We’re very close, but we’re hopeful the Fourth of July festivities will help get us there.”

The medical marijuana measure is one of two proposed initiated acts vying for a spot on the November ballot. To qualify, supporters will have to submit at least 62,507 signatures from registered voters. Proposed constitutional amendments need at least 78,133 signatures.

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