Could Voters see Medical Marijuana on the 2014 Ballot?

Could Voters see Medical Marijuana on the 2014 Ballot?

Published on 10/11/13

LITTLE ROCK (KATV)-- Arkansas voters could potentially see up to six measures on the 2014 ballot, some trying to legalize medical marijuana, while others want it used recreationally.

Could Voters see Medical Marijuana on the 2014 Ballot?

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel already approved wording of two proposals, one by the Arkansans for Responsible Medicine, the other coming from the Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

Both proposals are quite different.

While both groups want medical marijuana use to be legal, there are three big differences between the two proposals.

Before voters see any measure on the 2014 ballot, more than 60,000 signatures will need to be gathered for each.

It narrowly failed in 2012, by roughly 51 percent to 49 percent, when lawmakers struck down the legalization of medical marijuana.

"This time around, people are beginning to understand that this truly is a medicine," said Melissa Fults, Campaign Director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

Fults said she's certain their proposal will get the needed signatures to put this act on the ballot for 2014. She added, just two years ago they had 140,000 signing on the dotted line, and with some changes made, she expects even more this time.

"Like before if you could grow it at home, you never even got inspected, not people who do have the hardship cultivation will be subject to having it inspected and searched," said Fults.

Other changes include that caregivers will have to apply for a license to transport the medicinal cannabis from dispensaries to the patient's home. Also, not just anyone would be able to grow, even with a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana.

"You have to prove that you're too far from a dispensary, and that they won't deliver that far, and that you cannot physically get to that dispensary," added Fults.

Despite supporters, Executive Director of Family Council Action Committee, Jerry Cox, believes legalizing medical marijuana would ruin futures of the next generation.

Cox adds, it was a close call back in 2012, but this time, his committee is more knowledgeable and will continue to educate.

"We're not looking at what if it passes, right now we're looking at how do we get people informed enough to get the full extent of what this means? I think once they do, they'll vote it down," said Cox.

In the proposal drafted by the Arkansans Responsible for Marijuana, there's no caregiver license, no plan to help low-income families purchase the medical marijuana, and it doesn't allow anyone to grow the plant.

Four more measures are still awaiting the attorney general's approval.

Two of those would legalize cannabis for recreational use.

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