A medical marijuana proposal in Arkansas is one step closer to reality today after the state attorney general gave approval to the official title and popular name of the bill: The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act.
As we told you back in July, the original proposal had been turned down by the attorney general for being too vague – notably language stating that patients would not be allowed to grow their own cannabis.
The proposal, sponsored by Arkansans for Responsible Medicine will allow medical marijuana patients registered with the state to purchase cannabis from state-regulated dispensaries. The group’s spokesman, David Couch, says home cultivation was taken off the table after a 2012 medical marijuana bill failed primarily for allowing home cultivation.
“There was a poll conducted after [last year’s]election and 15-20 percent of people that voted against the proposal last time, said they would probably vote for it had it not been for the grow your own,” Couch told ArkansasMatters.com. last month.
The group now has to collect 62,507 signatures to get the bill before voters in 2014. Couch says they will pay canvassers to collect the signatures.
Several states have instituted medical marijuana laws in recent years without allowing home cultivation – notably New Jersey, Illinois and Maryland. While it is a good first-step, one of the main benefits of this plant as a medicine is that people can grow it at home for a much lower cost than they can purchase it in a store.
Thankfully, the Arkansans for Responsible Medicine isn’t the only proposal being kicked around. A second group, Arkansans for Compassionate Care has submitted ballot language that would allow patients to grow at home so long as they live more than five miles from the nearest dispensary – much like how Arizona medical marijuana laws currently work.