Faith leaders call on all Arkansans to support compassionate measure
Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the committee behind Issue 5, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, on Tuesday announced a dozen clergy leaders from across the state and from a broad range of denominations have endorsed the measure. The religious coalition was announced at a press conference in Fayetteville, featuring medical professionals and Emily Williams, who used medical marijuana to cope with the side effects of chemotherapy.
“I am proud to be among the faith leaders who have endorsed the use of medical marijuana by seriously ill patients,” said Reverend Howard Gordon, minister emeritus at the First Presbyterian Church in Little Rock. “We are compassionate people by nature and Issue 5, at its core, is about compassion.
“Arkansans must look beyond the scare tactics used by opponents of the measure and appreciate that there are less fortunate members of society who truly need marijuana to alleviate their suffering,” Rev. Gordon said.
“One can be opposed to the use of marijuana generally, while accepting that its use by patients, in accordance with a doctor’s recommendation, is acceptable,” Rev. Gordon said. “I know I do. And I hope the voters of this state will demonstrate their own sense of compassion when they vote.”
The endorsing faith leaders listed below signed statements of support containing the following language:
As faith leaders, our position on medical marijuana is driven by compassion. Seriously ill people should not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if the patients’ medical professionals have told them that such use is likely to be beneficial.
Holly Patton, Disciple of Christ | Little Rock, AR
Kendal Land, Presbyterian | Arkadelphia, AR
Steve Willis, Disciple of Christ | Hot Springs, AR
Doug Criss, Methodist | Leachville, AR
Jimmy Teeter, Methodist | Blevins, AR
John Drymon, Episcopal | Batesville, AR
Kelly Pearson, Presbyterian | Dardanelle, AR
Jeff Cranton, Presbyterian | Hot Springs, AR
Ruskin Falls, Presbyterian | Little Rock, AR
Kerry Price, Non-denominational | Pine Bluff, AR
Terry Hart, Presbyterian | Bull Shoals, AR
Howard Gordon, Presbyterian | Little Rock, AR
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.