Arkansas court upholds medical marijuana proposal

(AP)—The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a proposed ballot measure Thursday that, if successful, would make the state the first in the more conservative southern U.S. to legalize medical marijuana.

Justices rejected a challenge by a coalition of conservative groups who wanted to block the measure from a November vote.

The measure would allow patients with qualifying conditions, such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS and Alzheimer's disease, to buy marijuana from nonprofit dispensaries with a doctor's recommendation. A provision would allow minors to use it with parental consent.

The proposal acknowledges that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but opponents argue that it doesn't adequately explain that users could face federal prosecution.

"This is about the first incremental step to legalizing marijuana for recreational use," said coalition member Larry Page, the director of the Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in some fashion. Massachusetts voters are also expected to vote on the issue this fall, while the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that a medical marijuana initiative can't appear on that state's ballot.

The Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project has provided most of the funding for the Arkansas campaign, contributing $251,000.

Officials with the group said they stepped in after polling showed strong support for the measure. Group leaders also cited a "symbolic" value in passing a medical marijuana law in the South.

"I think it's a sign that marijuana policy reform is an idea that is coming of age now across the nation, rather than just in the states where we've seen it so far," said Morgan Fox, the group's communications director. "It's really an important moment."

Gov. Mike Beebe, who is opposed to the proposal, told reporters he doesn't believe voters would legalize medical marijuana.

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US capital okays medical marijuana

May 04, 2010

City councillors in Washington voted unanimously on Tuesday to allow the US capital to join 14 states in allowing medical marijuana to be used to treat certain chronically ill patients.

Cal medicinal marijuana law upheld

Dec 07, 2006

Although marijuana is illegal under federal law, it's still allowed for medicinal purposes in California after a judge refused to overturn the state law.

US governors seek federal marijuana clearance

Dec 01, 2011

A pair of US governors have filed a petition asking the US federal government to allow wider use of medical marijuana by authorizing doctors to prescribe it and pharmacies to provide it.

Conservative county OKs medical pot

Jul 18, 2007

Conservative Orange County, Calif., will license the use of medical marijuana and issue ID cards to patients entitled to use it.

Recommended for you

FDA approves hard-to-abuse narcotic painkiller

Jul 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—A new formulation of a powerful narcotic painkiller that discourages potential abusers from snorting or injecting the drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Race affects opioid selection for cancer pain

Jul 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Racial disparities exist in the type of opioid prescribed for cancer pain, according to a study published online July 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

FDA approves tough-to-abuse formulation of oxycodone

Jul 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Targiniq ER (oxycodone hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride extended release) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a long-term, around-the-clock treatment for severe ...

Tough-to-abuse formulation of oxycodone approved

Jul 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Targiniq ER (oxycodone hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride extended release) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a long-term, around-the-clock treatment for severe pain when other ...

EU regulator: Morning-after pill OK for all women

Jul 24, 2014

(AP)—A commonly used morning-after pill is suitable for use by heavier women, the European Medicines Agency said Thursday after a review of the evidence sparked by the French manufacturer's declaration that the drugs didn't ...

Physicians warned about counterfeit medical devices

Jul 24, 2014

(HealthDay)—Physicians should be aware of the prevalence and serious consequences associated with use of counterfeit medical devices, according to a letter to the editor published online July 20 in Lasers in ...

User comments