Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Medical marijuana foes sue over ballot title

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 3:32 PM

The newly formed group that opposes medical marijuana filed a court challenge today of the initiated act approved for the ballot on the ground that the ballot title approved by the attorney general's office is misleading.

(CORRECTION: I wrote originally that Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office had approved the ballot title. It was approved in 2014 while Dustin McDaniel was still attorney general.)

Arkansans Against Legal Marijuana sued Secretary of State Mark Martin, who certified that the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act had sufficient signatures of registered voters to qualify for the ballot.

The challenge goes to the Arkansas Supreme Court. A similar act was challenged in 2012 and made the ballot, but the makeup of the court is different now. The lawsuit seeks to prevent any votes from being counted on the measure.

Among arguments in the lawsuit are contentions that the measure suggests marijuana will undergo quality testing and that dispensing centers will be limited, untrue in both cases, the complaint says. It also cites a failure to mention that marijuana will be sold in food and drink at the nonprofit dispensaries that would be licensed to sell marijuana for specified medical conditions.

The plaintiff is Dr. Melanie Conway, a Maumelle psychiatrist who's listed on the committee that formed the anti-marijuana coalition. The suit was filed by Robert Shafer of the Friday Law Firm. They ask the Supreme Court to expedite the case.

Here's the complaint.
Another medical marijuana measure — an amendment that would establish for-profit dispensaries, but without a grow-your-own component in the initiated act — is awaiting final signature clearance by the secretary of state, but expects to be certified as well.

The group fighting the measure includes the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Family Council, but it hasn't yet reported the money contributed. If you're are a supporter of medical marijuana, note that the chamber of commerce is behind a massive corporate welfare amendment to allow issuance of state-backed bonds to aid private business and also to allow tax money to be sent to chambers of commerce and thus effectively used for political lobbying like this. Until a lawsuit stopped it, chambers of commerce used tax money to pay employees who lobbied against workers rights, against universal health insurance and for other issues, such as against medical marijuana. If you don't like how they spend their money, don't give them tax dollars in support. Here's more from Arkansas Business about that stinker, Issue 3 on the Nov. 8 ballot.

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