Arkansans now have two medical marijuana law proposals to consider putting on the 2014 ballot. Arkansans for Compassionate Care officially began their journey to get their medical marijuana bill before voters after state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel approved the wording late yesterday.
The group now has to get the John Hancock of at least 62,507 registered Arkansas voters to get the measure on the 2014 ballot.
If approved, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act would allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis for a range of medical conditions. Dispensaries would be allowed, but patients would be allowed to grow their own so long as they live . The program would be paid for by sales tax at the dispensaries with any additional revenue going to (interestingly) umbilical cord research and (insultingly) state drug programs.
Home cultivation would be limited to six plants with no more than three in flower. Patients and caregivers wanting to grow at home would have to apply for "Hardship Cultivation Certificates". The proposal doesn't outline what would qualify someone for that license, instead leaving that decision to the state health department.
This is marks ACC's second attempt in as many years at passing medical marijuana legislation. A previous attempt was shot down by voters last November.
The second proposal before voters for the 2014 ballot is from Arkansans for Responsible Medicine and is nearly identical to the ACC plan, except that the ARM plan would not allow for home cultivation. David Couch, head of ARM, says he wrote his proposal without home cultivation after polling showed that as many as 20 percent of "no" votes in 2012 came from people who said they would have voted for the bill if it had limited marijuana cultivation to dispensaries only.
We tend to side more with the ACC on this one, though. While dispensaries are good for patient access, cannabis is such a beneficial plant for patients in part because it can be cultivated at home relatively inexpensively.