Arkansas group submits signatures to put medical marijuana issue on state ballot

LITTLE ROCK — Supporters of a proposed initiated act to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas submitted what they said were 117,469 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office and called on the backers of a competing proposal to drop their efforts Monday.

Shortly after the group delivered the signatures, in boxes labeled “Cannabis is medicine!,” opponents of the proposals said in a news conference that legalizing medical marijuana would be a “backdoor way” to give healthy people legal access to it.

At least 67,887 valid signatures of registered Arkansas voters are needed to place the proposal by Arkansans for Compassionate Care on the November ballot.

The Secretary of State’s Office will work to verify the signatures, but Melissa Fults of East End, the group’s campaign director and a candidate for state representative, said the group has verified 85,000 of the signatures on its own and is confident it met the threshold.

“Currently, 25 states in the U.S. have medical cannabis,” Fults told reporters. “There are countless clinical and preclinical studies evidencing that cannabis is a safer, more effective alternative to medications such as pain pills. The patients of Arkansas deserve a safer alternative.”

Tamara Langley-Higdon of El Dorado, a regional director for the group, said she is in a wheelchair and takes 21 prescription pills per day because of injuries she received in a car accident, but she said that “I could eliminate 17 of those 21 prescription pills per day if I could use cannabis.”

Signatures also are being collected for a separate medical-marijuana measure proposed by Little Rock lawyer David Couch. Unlike the proposed initiated act submitted by Arkansans for Compassionate Care, Couch’s measure is a proposed constitutional amendment and needs 84,859 signatures to get on the ballot.

Another difference between the proposals is that Couch’s would not allow home cultivation of marijuana. The proposal by Arkansans for Compassionate Care contains a “hardship provision” allowing some people to grow marijuana at home if they live more than 20 miles away from a state-regulated marijuana dispensary.

Fults said Couch and his supporters should drop their proposal so her group’s proposal can succeed.

– See more at: http://swtimes.com/news/arkansas-group-submits-signatures-put-medical-marijuana-issue-state-ballot#sthash.8l22NZEj.dpuf

Posted in: News

Comments are closed.