Law Enforcement’s Opposition To Med Marijuana Based In Misunderstanding


Arkansas Sheriffs Association

The Arkansas Sheriff’s Association and the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police held a press conference on Friday announcing their official opposition to Issue 5, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act.
In a statement released to the press on Tuesday, Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Ronnie Baldwin claimed they “don’t want people to think law enforcement is not compassionate to the people who would use it and use it responsibly,” but the group is openly trying to take good medicine out of the hands of sick people for reasons that have no basis in fact, according to Arkansans for Compassionate Care.
Law enforcement’s chief concern — that Issue 5 would lead to greater teen drug use — just isn’t accurate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a study spanning a 16-year period which showed teen marijuana use actually went down in states with legal medical marijuana programs.

Arkansas Sheriffs Association
Ronnie Baldwin, executive director, Arkansas Sheriffs Association

“When the emphasis is on compassionate medicine, marijuana is stripped of its glamour — and the greater level of official exposure and comment means a greater awareness amongst youth about the risks of recreational marijuana use,” Arkansans for Compassionate Care said in a Friday press release.
“People really need to look at the way it is written before they make up their minds,” Officer Baldwin said. However, according to Arkansans for Compassionate care, some officers seemed to be unaware of the act’s text even at today’s press conference.
At one point in the press conference an officer said that it would be easy for a patient to walk into a doctor’s office and receive a medical marijuana recommendation for chronic pain. When Melissa Fults, a board member and spokesperson for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, pointed out the exact passage and line that defines “chronic pain” as “pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six months,” the officer appeared shocked.
“I didn’t realize that was in there,” he replied.
“We at Arkansans for Compassionate Care are disappointed that these organizations would oppose a measure conservatively aimed at helping sick and dying people alleviate their painful symptoms and comprehensively written to prevent abuse,” Fults said.
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.
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