Time running out for those gathering petition signatures - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Time running out for those gathering petition signatures

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 JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Groups pushing to get their issues on the November ballot have just over a week left to collect the signatures needed for their specific proposals.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care say they are well over the halfway mark, but volunteers are still out pounding the pavement to get those final names before deadline.

"Natural medicine for the natural state!" Gail Rasberry calls out to drivers headed down Main Street.

The Jonesboro resident holds signs and waves petitions after work and on the weekends for Arkansas for Compassionate Care.

It's a statewide effort to legalize medical marijuana but signature collection has been different this year.

"We've been totally dependent on volunteers," Rasberry said.

Rasberry told Region 8 News that last time signatures were collected for the issue, funding came in to pay for canvassers.

"We made ballot really easy last time," she explained.

This year, that same funding didn't show up.

"We came so close to passing it last time that I think they probably said something like 'oh, they're gonna pass it this time, they don't need the money'"

Arkansans for Compassionate Care has less than 10 days to finish collecting the 62,507 raw signatures for their issue.

We spoke with the group's campaign director, Melissa Fults, by phone Friday afternoon. 

Fults said they are going through stacks of petitions gathered just this week but knows they still need more to make it on the ballot, which is where volunteers like Rasberry come into play.

"We're all doing it for free because we all feel passionate about the patients of Arkansas having access to breakthrough medical discoveries," Rasberry said.

Regardless if they gather enough signatures to get the proposal on the November ballot, Fults and Rasberry agree, they've already won.

"The tide is turning," Rasberry said. "Now that a lot of states have passed some kind of medical cannabis measure, the research is coming out, the medical research, the crime statistics."

Though those 62,000 plus signatures have to be in by July 7th, Fults told us those are just raw numbers, meaning if some signatures are thrown out for not being valid, they'll be given another 30 days to re-collect that remaining amount.

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