Saturday, August 20, 2016

Medical marijuana group emphasizes positive in emergence of competitor

Posted By on Sat, Aug 20, 2016 at 8:00 AM

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The first group to qualify a medical marijuana measure for the November ballot issued a statement Friday expressing equanimity with a competing measure that submitted sufficient signatures Friday to qualify for the ballot.

The statement came from Melissa Fults, who leads the campaign for the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, an initiated act that would allow distribution of medical marijuana through nonprofit centers. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment would set up a distribution system through for-profit outlets regulated by the state, much like the alcoholic beverage industry.

Said Fults:
Arkansans strongly favor medical cannabis and this year it looks like they’ll get a choice about the kind of medical cannabis program they want to establish in 2017.

Today Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana turned in additional signatures which will likely secure their initiative—The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA)—a spot on the upcoming November ballot—right next to The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (AMCA), which has been certified for the state ballot since July.

Both initiatives agree that cannabis is safe and effective medicine, but they differ on how to structure the program. The patient-centric AMCA focuses on providing sick and dying Arkansans safe access to lab-tested, affordable medicine via not-for-profit Cannabis Care Centers across the state while the for-profit AMMA seeks to establish a government panel that would work with the Alcohol Beverage Control division to license and oversee eight cultivation centers.

“We look forward to educating Arkansans about the benefits of medical cannabis and the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, which was designed to provide safe and affordable access to sick and dying patients in the state," said Melissa Fults, Campaign Director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.
The measure Fults backs  includes a limited provision for people to grow small amounts of marijuana if they live far from distributors. The amendment does not. That was viewed as a stumbling block in the defeat of an earlier medical marijuana measure.

I am not excited by the idea of a for-profit distribution system akin to the crazy system by which alcohol is sold in Arkansas. It is ripe for manipulation. The backing of the measure by a payday lender and liquor business interests is also a point of interest.

I'm sorry the group pushing straight legalization didn't make the ballot. They continue to work for the future.

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