Thursday, September 27, 2012

Arkansas Supreme Court clears vote on medical marijuana

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 9:05 AM

VICTORY: Arkansans for Compassionate Care is already trumpeting its court win.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has denied the petition to block a vote on the initiative to allow medical use of marijuana in Arkansas. The decision clears the way for a vote on medical marijuana in Arkansas on Nov. 6.

Here's the opinion. The court said the ballot title was sufficient.

The complaint was brought by the Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values and included Jerry Cox, leader of the Arkanass branch of the rightwing fundamentalist Family Council, and Larry Page, longtime leader of the church-backed Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council.

They contended the measure, certified for the ballot by Secretary of State Mark Martin, conflicted with state and federal laws and constitutions.

The court rejected arguments that the ballot title was too long, at 384 words; that it lacked definitions and contained misleading terms; that it had omitted key words and phrases; that it prevented fair understanding of the impact of the act (such as potential for people getting pot for illicit uses). The court held unanimously that it met the required standard of being intelligible, honest and impartial. The court noted that no title is required to discuss the merits or demerits of a question and that it wasn't possible to list every consequence of an initiative. (Might this be a hint at a coming decision on whether a casino amendment says enough about potential impact on existing casinos at Oaklawn and Southland Park?)

The court also upheld the sufficiency of the popular name, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, which opponents claimed was partisan and misleading because there's no such thing as medical marijuana. The court said, though, that the words were familiar, commonly used and understood and presented impartially.

The court said the claim that the act violated law and constitution is directed at the substance of the act, not the popular name and ballot title, and "is therefore not ripe for review." For that to happen, the proposal must become law and a "case in controversy" arise. The court can step in before adoption only when a proposal is "clearly contrary to law." The problems posed by plaintiffs are hypothetical, the court said. The Coalition, it said, bases assertions "on situations that may arise, if the law is passed, not language that is clearly contrary to either the constitutions or state and federal law." Again, I have to wonder about the casino challenge.

The unanimous court decision was written by Justice Karen Baker.

This clears the way for a vote on the proposal Nov. 6. Here's a link to the proposal if you'd like to study up. Polls over the years have shown warmth in Arkansas toward use of marijuana for medicine, but similar sentiments in other states haven't always led to positive outcomes. Gov. Mike Beebe has already told reporters he thinks Arkansas voters won't approve and raised the issue of the cost to the state of regulating dispensaries and those allowed to grow marijuana if they live too far from dispensaries. The marijuana can be prescribed for certain recognized illnesses.

AP's Andrew DeMillo wrote a useful overview several weeks ago.

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (38)

Showing 1-38 of 38

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-38 of 38

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • Death Row inmates argue to keep stay of execution in place; urge 8th Circuit not to 'rush' analysis

    Early this morning, attorneys for nine Death Row inmates, filed an argument with the 8th United States Court of Appeals contesting the state's effort to override Judge Kristine Baker's order Saturday that halted executions scheduled this month.
    • Apr 17, 2017
  • Federal judge denies execution stay for Don Davis but larger stay continues

    Don Davis, who's been moved to the killing facility of the state prison for killing tonight at 7 p.m. if a stay of execution is lifted in another federal suit, sought a stay in another federal court Sunday, but the request was denied.
    • Apr 17, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • State Police issues statement on Jason Rapert 'threats'

    The State Police have issued a minor clarification in what appears to be an effort to soothe an enraged Sen. Jason Rapert, exposed here as overly excited about both a Conway parking lot question from a constituent as well as some inflammatory Internet rhetoric that he's interpreted as a dire threat on his life. State cops took his reports seriously, they say. But in the end, they found nothing actionable.
    • Sep 15, 2015
  • Federal judge reprimands John Goodson for misconduct in class-action case

    John Goodson  — the Texarkana attorney, D.C. lobbyist, and husband of Arkansas State Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson — was reprimanded today by a federal judge for his conduct in a class-action case.
    • Aug 3, 2016
  • Transgender electrician may sue employer over her firing

    Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright has ruled that Patricia Dawson, a transgender woman, may pursue her lawsuit that she was wrongfully fired by her employer, H & H Electric, because of her sex.
    • Sep 16, 2015

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation