Arkansas Will Vote on Medical Marijuana, Court Says

Posted September 27, 2012 in Criminal Law Government by

Denizens of the South, get ready to light up. The Arkansas Supreme Court today gave the green light to a ballot measure that will allow residents to vote on bringing legalized medical marijuana to the state this November.

The Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values, a group of conservative activists, had tried to block the measure, arguing that the wording on the ballot didn’t make it clear that people who sold or used medical marijuana could face prosecution under federal law. The court disagreed, stating that the language did make it clear that the drug would still be prohibited by Uncle Sam regardless of changes to the state law.

Now, it’s up to Arkansas residents to decide if they want to give their friends and neighbors the opportunity to seek pain and nausea relief from certain medical conditions in a safe and (locally) legal manner.

Medical marijuana is already legal in 17 states plus Washington, D.C., but Arkansas would be the first southern state to add the herbal remedy to its pharmaceutical toolkit. Patients with cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer’s would be eligible for prescriptions, and people would be allowed to grow their own plants under certain conditions.

As for blocking the chance to let the people speak based on a semantic technicality? Not happening, says the court. “We hold that [the wording on the ballot measure] is an adequate and fair representation without misleading tendencies or partisan coloring,” the ruling said. “Therefore, the act is proper for inclusion on the ballot at the general election on Nov. 6, 2012, and the petition is therefore denied.”

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