Arkansas court upholds medical marijuana proposal

September 27, 2012

(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.

Explore further: Medical marijuana backers seek inroads in South

shares

Related Stories

US governors seek federal marijuana clearance

December 1, 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.

Recommended for you

Researchers identify drug that alleviates opioid withdrawal

January 30, 2017

Opioid use and abuse is a significant social, health and economic issue in Canada. Researchers at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) and Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) have discovered that ...

Detecting counterfeit medicines

January 27, 2017

Bernard Naughton and Dr David Brindley from Oxford University's Saïd Business School and Medical Sciences Division discuss the problems of identifying fake, substandard and expired medicines.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.