The campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas is already the most expensive ballot initiative in Arkansas history.
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.
Responsible Growth’s money has come almost entirely from the the existing medical marijuana industry, which stands to benefit greatly from the market…