State Supreme Court Allows Ballot Language, Arkansas Now First In South to Vote on Medical Marijuana
Great news from Dixie! The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a suit challenging the language of the ballot initiative that would allow seriously ill Arkansans to use marijuana to treat certain conditions with the recommendation of their doctors. The initiative will now appear on the November state ballot as Issue 5.
Justices rejected a challenge by a coalition of anti-marijuana “conservative” groups who had asked the court to block the initiative from November’s general election ballot, or to order the state not to count any votes cast on the issue. Gotta love those wingnuts, trying to deny voters the right to choose!
With the court’s decision, Arkansas is now the first state in the Southern U.S. whose residents will have a chance to determine if their friends and neighbors will be able to use the medicine that works best for them without the fear of arrest.
Morgan Fox, Marijuana Policy Project: “The people of Arkansas deserve a chance to have their voices heard”
While the proposal acknowledges that marijuana would still be against federal law, the “Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values” (hmm… guess they think IGNORANCE is one of those, or something?) argued that it doesn’t sufficiently explain that state-authorized cannabis users could still face federal prosecution.
“We hold that it is an adequate and fair representation without misleading tendencies or partisan coloring,” the court wrote, effectively handing the Coalition’s asses to them. “Therefore, the act is proper for inclusion on the ballot at the general election on Nov. 6, 2012, and the petition is therefore denied.”
“Here, after reviewing the ballot title of 384 words, we conclude that the title informs the voters in an intelligible, honest and impartial manner of the substantive matter of the act,” the ruling said.
Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of marijuana.
“We at the Marijuana Policy Project are very proud to support Issue 5 and Arkansans for Compassionate Care and are glad that the state Supreme Court saw fit to dismiss this baseless challenge,” said Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The people of Arkansas deserve a chance to have their voices heard, just as seriously ill Arkansans deserve a chance to live normal lives without being treated like criminals.”
“The tightly regulated system that would be implemented by the passage of this initiative would provide relief to numerous patients suffering from severely debilitating conditions while taking resources out of the hands of criminals and increasing public safety,” Fox said. “This is not a partisan issue. It is a matter of compassion.
“Hopefully other states in the region will take their cue from Arkansas and begin to explore similar policy alternatives to putting sick people in jail,” Fox said.
Arkansas now joins Massachusetts in considering a medical marijuana ballot initiative in the November election.
To learn more about the campaign to pass Issue 5, please visit Arkansans for Compassionate Care at ARCompassion.org.