The Arkansas medical marijuana proposal, if approved by voters, would allow patients with qualifying health conditions and a doctor's recommendation to purchase medicinal pot from dispensaries. Pictured: A sign hanging in Colorado medical marijuana dispensary Herb's Medicinals, located in Berthoud, is seen in this February 2012 photo. (AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post file)

Arkansas group wants court to block medical pot measure

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A group opposing Arkansas medical marijuana asked the state’s highest court to block a legalization measure on the ballot, saying the proposal misleads voters about its consequences.

Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana asked the state Supreme Court to prevent the secretary of state’s office from counting or certifying any votes for the proposed initiated act, which was approved last month for the November ballot.

Aside from calling the proposal misleading, the complaint claims it “omits material information that is essential for a fair understanding of the act.”

The proposal, if approved by voters, would allow patients with qualifying medical conditions and a doctor’s recommendation to purchase medical marijuana from dispensaries. Patients who don’t live close to dispensaries would be allowed to grow their own marijuana under the proposal.

Arkansas voters narrowly rejected a nearly identical medical marijuana proposal by Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the same group behind the proposed act. The Arkansas Supreme Court rejected a similar lawsuit challenging that measure.

“I feel very confident that it will pass the scrutiny of the Supreme Court and will be on the ballot,” said Melissa Fults, campaign director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

The group suing over the measure includes the state Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Family Council Action Committee. Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe, a spokesman for the group, said it is also considering challenging some of the petitions that were submitted for the proposal.

“The general public deserves to have a ballot initiative that accurately describes what the legislation will do and what it’s about, and the attorneys didn’t feel that was the case, which is why they filed the suit,” he said.

Among other arguments, the complaint says the ballot title doesn’t explain to voters that the measure would allow dispensaries to sell food and drink that contain marijuana. It also claims the ballot title is incomplete and misleading in regard to the effect the measure will have on employers, landlords, churches and schools.

Bledsoe said the group also hasn’t ruled out filing a similar suit if a competing medical marijuana proposal also gets approved for the November ballot Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office is reviewing the signatures for the proposed constitutional amendment.


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