Earlier this week, a group in Arkansas filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court to stop medical marijuana from being legalized this November. The group, named Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana, want the Supreme Court to throw away all votes cast in November regarding the Arkansas cannabis measure. All ballots begin to get printed next week. The spokesman for the group, State Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe, says they don’t believe the Supreme Court will be able to act before the ballots begin to get printed which is why they have decided to aim for getting the votes thrown away instead.
Arguments Over Language on the Ballot
The group is basing their lawsuit against the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act on claims that there are problems with the name of the ballot. Their complaint states that the name of the Arkansas cannabis measure “contains misleading statements, omits material information that is essential for a fair understanding of the Act, and is tinged with partisan coloring.” In actuality, the ballot title was already edited by the attorney general’s office to ensure that it was as clear as possible and the title was then approved by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on the 14th of August.
“A Ripple in the Water”
Melissa Fults, the campaign manager for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, which is the group who sponsored the act, has made it clear that she isn’t concerned about the group’s lawsuit. She believes they “don’t have a leg to stand on it” and has called the claim a “ripple in the water” compared to how much opposition the group has already had to face.
Trying to Maintain a Negative Stigma
Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana are claiming that there are essentially 6 things wrong with the ballot title. They are concerned about the amount of marijuana a person can use, the number of dispensaries that will be available, the fact that dispensaries can sell edibles and cannabis infused drinks, how employers and landlords might be affected and the fact that the wording appeals to voters sense of compassion towards patients.
In essence these complaints seem a lot less concerned with the naming of the ballot and more focused on trying to keep a negative stigma associated to the herb. The negative stigma is a recent thing in the history of cannabis. Cannabis was used medicinally for thousands of years. In recent years, smear campaigns and propaganda were fabricated for political reasons and now prohibition groups like Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana are fighting to keep the stigma in place. With so much evidence available on how beneficial marijuana can be for so many conditions, it seems only a matter of time before arguments against marijuana become a thing of the past.
Arkansas Cannabis Legalization Sees a 2nd Bill
Arkansas seems more than ready to take on medical marijuana as another Arkansas cannabis act is very close to appearing on the ballot too. Signatures are currently being verified for a proposal from Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana. The proposal’s sponsor, David Couch, said he has collected more than the requisite number of signatures and so it seems that Arkansans will have 2 opportunities to vote to legalize medical marijuana this November.