Reaction from CPAV:
On Thursday, the Arkansas Supreme Court handed down a decision allowing the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act to remain on the November General Election ballot. The Court denied a request by the Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values to have the measure removed from the ballot.
The Court disagreed with assertions by the group that the measure's popular name and ballot title would mislead voters.
"We've shifted into campaign mode" said Larry Page, a spokesman for the Coalition. "We respect the Court's decision, but we are very disappointed that this flawed measure will appear on the ballot," Page said.
Coalition member, Jerry Cox, said that the campaign would focus on getting the word out to churches across the state and on encouraging other groups, like law enforcement, to get more involved. "This decision does not change the fact that the ballot title is vague and misleading. When voters step into the voting booths on November 6, they will not be able to determine exactly what this measure does and how far-reaching it really is. The popular name and ballot title do not define any of the legal terms that appear in the measure. Not a single one. Based on this ballot title, voters will have no way of knowing what medical conditions qualify a person to use marijuana under this measure. They will have no way of knowing how much marijuana a person may possess under this measure. The ballot title implies that a marijuana user cannot go to prison under federal law if this passes--even though there is no way state law can trump federal law. The purpose of a ballot title is to give voters a very clear, accurate picture of what they are voting on when they step into that voting booth. This ballot title clearly does not do that."
The Coalition had petitioned the Court to remove the measure from the ballot based on what they saw as insufficiencies in the popular name and ballot title. They contended that the ballot title failed to define terms like "marijuana dispensary," and it failed to disclose how much marijuana a person could possess and which medical conditions would qualify a person to use marijuana. They also said that most voters would not be aware that this measure would allow citizens to grow their own marijuana and that it would not be dispensed through a pharmacy.
Bill Wheeler, Executive Director of Families First Action Committee, said he believes families will suffer if the measure passes this November. "With marijuana users being able to grow their own marijuana at home, that is going to impact neighborhoods and communities. If word gets out your next door neighbor is growing marijuana at home, his house is going to entice thieves and other criminals. That's going to affect you and your family. It will affect everything from property values to how safe you and your kids feel just walking down the street. No good can come from that."
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act would allow doctors to issue a certificate to anyone with a "qualifying medical condition" to grow, process, and use marijuana. In addition, it would allow the establishment of approximately 30 "marijuana dispensaries" where usable marijuana, marijuana seeds and seedlings, as well as "marijuana material" would be sold. The dispensaries would be able to grow marijuana as well. Marijuana users would be able to grow their own marijuana if they live more than five miles from a dispensary.
Reaction from Arkansans for Compassionate Care:
"Mr. Cox's lawsuit revolved around technicalities and loopholes--and our state's Supreme Court saw right through it," said Arkansans for Compassionate Care's spokesperson, Christopher Kell. "We're happy to have this legal issue behind us and look forward to educating the people of Arkansas on the medicinal properties of marijuana and how the patients of this state will benefit when this issue passes."
Original story (9:15 a.m.)
The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled that a medical marijuana proposal will remain on the ballot in November.
A lawsuit filed in August by the Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values (CPAV) had sought to get the proposal off Arkansas' November ballot.
The high court disagreed with the lawsuit.
The CPAV had asked the justices to review the "legal sufficiency of the popular name and ballot title" of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act. The coalition felt that the Act would conflict with the state and federal constitutions and would violate state and federal law.
The court disagreed, saying in its opinion: "..we hold that the popular name and ballot title are an intelligible, honest, and impartial means of presenting the Act to the people for their consideration."
The coalition has five days to ask the court for a rehearing.
The court's opinion is attached below.
Click here to read the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act.