Arkansas has become the first state in the Deep South to qualify a medical marijuana initiative for the ballot.
Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin on Wednesday certified the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act has enough signatures to be on the November 6 General Election ballot. The proposal needed a minimum of 62,507 signatures from registered voters to qualify.
“Compassionate Care is an important issue for thousands of Arkansans and their families,” said Melissa Fults, treasurer for Arkansans for Compassionate Care. “This is something the people of Arkansas want to discuss. We’ve always been a leader in the South and now we’re the first one to put medical marijuana on the ballot and have a real discussion about it.”
If voters approve the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, the state will join 17 others and Washington, D.C., in allowing doctors to write recommendations for marijuana to alleviate specified medical conditions. The Arkansas Act is largely based on the medical marijuana law in Maine that passed in 2009 and has become one of the nation’s most successful.
|Rick McFarland/Arkansas Online
|Melissa Fults (center), the treasurer with Arkansas for Compassionate Care, hugs Emily Williams of Fayetteville after Williams spoke of her ordeal with cancer and how the use of marijuana for medical purposes helped ease the pain of her treatments, as Ryan Denham, also with the group, stands by.
The Arkansas Act lists 15 specific chronic or life-threatening medical conditions for which marijuana could be recommended by a doctor: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Tourette syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s.
Only patients authorized by the Arkansas Department of Health would be allowed to purchase, carry and consume marijuana. The Act limits the number of dispensaries statewide and requires all of them to be non-profit. Cities and counties that choose to do so would be allowed to ban dispensaries altogether.
About Arkansans for Compassionate Care
Arkansans for Compassionate Care
is a coalition of concerned physicians, patients, and allies who agree that sick and dying patients should have access to medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.
For thousands of chronically-ill Arkansans, the pain and nausea relief afforded by marijuana helps them live comfortably without harmful side effects. But marijuana is currently unregulated and not legally available.
Arkansans for Compassionate Care offers a better choice: controlled access to a medicine that is proven to be both safe and effective, especially against the debilitating effects of chronic illness and harsh medical treatments.