There’s an initiative afoot in Arkansas to put medical marijuana legalization on the ballot in November 2012.
Arkansans for Compassionate Care is circulating a petition to allow the sick and dying to legally use cannabis medicinally with a doctor’s authorization for 16 different serious or chronic diseases and disorders such as cancer, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS.
The program would allow for 30 nonprofit dispensaries across the state. Those who live more than five miles from the nearest dispensary would be allowed to get a marijuana-growing permit.
“If we collect 62,500 signatures, the initiative will appear on the 2012 Presidential ballot in Arkansas,” Shannon Steece of Arkansans for Compassionate Care told Toke of the Town. “Currently we have less than 20,000 unvalidated signatures.”
|Shannon Steece, Arkansans for Compassionate Care: “I think we’ll see more women turning out to vote for this issue”|
”We are in need of signatures, volunteers, and donors,” Steece told Toke of the Town Wednesday afternoon. “We especially need help collecting signatures in the middle and southern parts of the state. And, of course, we’re always looking for donations.”
The group is shooting for 123,000 signatures, to ensure they reach the goal of 62,500 validated ones in order to make the ballot.
Steece volunteers for ACC as a graphic designer, regional secretary, canvasser, “and all-around marketing person,” she told me.
The deadline for submitting the signed petitions is in July 2012.
“With the long lead to submitting the petition, we are seeking a guerrilla approach to finding volunteers and supporters without raising too much awareness from the typical rogue’s gallery of Southern opponents,” Steece said, and having grown up in Alabama, I know exactly what she means.
But support has come from some unexpected places, according to Steece.
“I thought there would be an issue here amongst our senior population, but I have actually found them to respond quite favorably,” Shannon told me. “And women, too — that’s something I had really hoped would happen.
|Arkansans for Compassionate Care|
|Just $25 each, postpaid — and you’ll be supporting legal medicinal cannabis in Arkansas.|
”For many years, I’ve worked in the field of health care education,” Steece said. “Women are the health care decision makers for the American family. As such, I think we’ll see more women turning out to vote for this issue.”
“We want to ensure that sick and dying patients in Arkansas have the ability to get the medicine they need and that is sometimes medical marijuana,” Ryan Denham, campaign director for ACC, said in April, reports Suzi Parker of Reuters.
The point, according to Denham, is to make sure doctors and patients don’t live in fear of discussing marijuana as a viable treatment option.
“It reduces spasticity for multiple sclerosis patients, it helps prevent seizures for epileptic patients, it reduces inner ocular pressure for glaucoma patients,” Denham said. “It’s an anti-nauseate, so it’s really good for people that have cancer and people that are on chemotherapy. It helps them regain appetite. It helps them sleep.”
You can support ACC’s campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas by buying one of their t-shirts. The shirts are printed on high quality green fabric, and feature a medical marijuana red cross logo and leaf on the from and the back. They’re available in Small through 2XL; the $25 price includes free shipping.
The text around the logo says “Put Medical Marijuana on the Ballot in 2012 – ARCOMPASSION.ORG,” along with the slogan “Science, Compassion, Common Sense.”
To find out what else you can do to help, visit Arkansans for Compassionate Care at http://arcompassion.org/.