Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Secretary of state clears signatures on medical marijuana amendment

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 4:21 PM

click to enlarge THE DOCTORS ARE IN: Elders and Bledsoe talk about medical marijuana. - JACOB KAUFFMAN/KUAR
  • Jacob Kauffman/KUAR
  • THE DOCTORS ARE IN: Elders and Bledsoe talk about medical marijuana.

The secretary of state's office has certified that a petition drive to put a medical marijuana constitutional amendment on the ballot cleared the number of registered voters required.

Needing 84,859 signatures, the secretary of state's office said it had found 97,284 valid signatures and thus certified the amendment as Issue 6 on the Nov. 8 ballot.

It joins an initiated act for medical marijuana. There are differences between them, a chief one being the for-profit dispensaries envisioned in the amendment. A lawsuit has been filed challenging the ballot title on the initiated act. No word yet if the amendment will be challenged, though the same groups that oppose the act also oppose medial marijuana in this form.

Still waiting word on the office's review of signatures on petitions for an amendment to legalize three casinos in Arkansas, with ownership rights specified for backers of the amendment.

Speaking of marijuana: Jacob Kauffman of KUAR interviewed Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe and former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders on medical marijuana. Bledsoe says he favors full research to tap any benefit from marijuana as medicine, but opposes the two ballot measures. 

Says Elders:

If a doctor feels that smoking a plant, or chewing and eating a plant, or however they consume it is helpful for their patients with certain chronic diseases and it makes them feel better, why not? Why not let them be as comfortable as they could be for as long as they could be? To me that’s what medicine is about.
Love Dr. Elders.

PS: Lawyer Erika Gee has written an analysis of the two medical marijuana proposals for Arkansas Business.

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