Today the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that a measure to legalize the use of marijuana for “medical” purposes could remain on the ballot for the November election.
Now, this is bad news for a number of reasons. The Court, by and large, ignored concerns expressed over ambiguities in the measure’s ballot title—what voters will see when they look at their ballots—that will mislead voters when they weigh in on the measure.
For instance, the court must look for any omissions in the ballot title that might give voters a reason for “reflection” on the measure. Well, the ballot title does not bother to list the medical conditions for which a person can use marijuana. Do you think that’s something voters might like to know before they vote on the measure? I would at least want to know that much before I voted one way or another. But voters won’t, and the Arkansas Supreme Court did not bother to adequately answer why the ballot title does not have to include something so vital to the measure.
Here’s the thing, though: The Popular Name alone should have invalidated this measure. The Popular Name is a shorthand way of identifying a ballot measure. It is supposed to be impartial and factual.