Campaign for recreational marijuana in Arkansas breaks fundraising records; polls show cracksPosted by On

The campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas is already the most expensive ballot initiative in Arkansas history.

The sponsor of Issue 4, Responsible Growth Arkansas, reported Tuesday nearly $12.4 million in spending to pass the constitutional amendment.

Even with a week until Election Day, that was millions more than any ballot-initiative campaign had reported in the past, an Advocate analysis of public campaign finance data found.

The next-highest spender was the campaign to legalize casinos in the state in 2018. A pair of ballot-question committees spent roughly $9.7 million on that successful constitutional amendment that permitted new casinos in Jefferson and Pope counties as well as the expansion of race tracks at Oaklawn and Southland into full-fledged casinos.

Responsible Growth has also faced a well-financed opposition group. While less than a fifth of the pro-cannabis group’s haul, Safe and Secure Communities has raised $2.3 million and spent $2.2 million to oppose Issue 4.

That’s the fourth most ever spent on one side of a ballot issue, and the most ever spent in opposition to an initiative. The next most was the $1.8 million spent to defeat a proposal to allow alcohol sales statewide in 2014.

RELATED: The 60% question: Is Issue 4 Arkansas’ last shot at recreational marijuana?


Responsible Growth’s money has come almost entirely from the the existing medical marijuana industry, which stands to benefit greatly from the market…

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