The Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values — a group of conservative interests — will challenge a medical marijuana proposal that has qualified for the November ballot.
The Family Council Action Committee, Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council, Families First Council and the Arkansas Family Coalition are part of the coalition.
The group contends that the ballot title is misleading and that the initiative creates conflicts with state and federal law.
Rob Moritz with the Arkansas News Bureau reports:
“We believe that this measure’s ballot title and popular name do not accurately reflect the true nature of the entire proposal,” Jerry Cox, director of the Family Council Action Committee, said during a news conference at the state Capitol on Friday.
Larry Page, director of the Faith and Ethics Council, suggested at the news conference that getting marijuana use approved for medicinal purposes was the first step in a plan to eventually legalize marijuana across the board in Arkansas.
Page said states that currently have marijuana for medical use laws, like Colorado, have seen an increase in general marijuana use and trafficking.
“This has never been primarily about effective and smart medical advancements. Many of those who have and are driving this issue have revealed what it is really about — the full and unrestricted use of recreational marijuana,” Page said.
Ryan Denham — campaign director with Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the group organizing the medicinal marijuana push — was interviewed Thursday during taping of The City Wire TV show in northwest Arkansas.
From The City Wire:
Denham said during the interview that people shouldn’t have to “break the law” to seek relief from pain. He said doctors are allowed to prescribe medicines that contain methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, but they can’t prescribe an organic treatment that can provide better results with fewer or no side effects.
The medical marijuana proposal would allow for up to 30 nonprofit dispensaries in Arkansas. Local cities and counties could choose to ban them. If Arkansas approves the measure, it would the only Southern state to do so, but would join 16 other states with some form of medical marijuana law.
Marijuana would only be available to people with a prescription for certain health conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDs, Alzheimer’s disease and several other conditions. The proposal allows for a patient to have up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana without the threat of prosecution.
A Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll conducted earlier this summer showed 47% of Arkansas voters support the proposal, while 46% oppose it. Seven percent are undecided.