Saturday, September 3, 2016

Second suit challenges medical marijuana act

Posted By on Sat, Sep 3, 2016 at 7:15 AM

A second lawsuit has been filed challenging the initiated act seeking to legalize dispensation of medical marijuana through non-profit outlets.

AP reports here.

This lawsuit was filed by lawyer Kara Benca, who describes herself as a supporter of legalized marijuana. David Couch, the lawyer heading the drive for a competing medical marijuana constitutional amendment, says he is not behind Benca's suit, but says he's provided her some information.

An earlier lawsuit, including backing from the powerful Arkansas Farm Bureau and Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, challenged the sufficiency of the ballot title. Benca's lawsuit challenges the validity of thousands of signatures and wants the act disqualified for that shortcoming.

As yet, no suit has been filed against the constitutional amendment. Some added context: The initiated act under challenge was approved for the ballot when Dustin McDaniel was attorney general. A similar act made the ballot over a legal challenge in 2012 and was narrowly defeated, in part because of criticism of a limited "grow-your-own" provision that this measure retains.

The constitutional amendment was approved by Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. Couch, of course, thinks his measure would withstand scrutiny if challenged. One other sidelight is that the Friday Law Firm, with a rich history of participation in ballot initiative litigation, is attorney for the first suit filed against the marijuana initiated act. Couch says the Friday firm would be unable to participate in a lawsuit against his amendment, should it be filed, because they represent Cheney Pruett, a businessman  with interests including payday lending, who's a major financial backer of his amendment. Pruitt is interested in the marijuana business.

I'll give you a lawsuit link when the Administrative Office of the Courts website starts functioning again.

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