Arkansas voters reject recreational marijuana amendment

This Sept. 15, 2015 file photo shows marijuana plants a few weeks away from harvest in a medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill.

Arkansas voters have rejected a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana, a resounding defeat for the state’s medical cannabis industry and a victory for social conservatives.

The campaign against the amendment to legalize recreational cannabis, also known as Issue 4, overcame millions of dollars in support from the state’s medical marijuana industry as well as a national trend showing a dwindling taboo over the drug.

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Issue 4 would have allowed the sale of cannabis to people 21 or older, prohibit advertising and packaging designed to appeal to children, provide regulatory oversight by limiting the number of licensed businesses, and not allow homegrown cannabis. It would limit the number of cannabis licenses to 20 cultivators and 120 dispensaries statewide, which includes existing medical marijuana licenses. Lotteries would be held for 40 dispensary licenses and 12 cultivator licenses.