Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lawsuit challenges marijuana amendment

Posted By on Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 2:43 PM

Now three lawsuits are pending over two competing medical marijuana initiatives.

Today, Arkansans Against Legal Marijuana (a combine of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas Farm Bureau and the religious right Family Council) sued to disqualify a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow for-profits marijuana medical dispensaries for certain medical conditions. The same group had sued earlier against an initiated act allowing non-profit dispensaries. In both cases, lawsuits claim the ballot titles are misleading or incomplete. A third lawsuit has been filed against the initiated act by a purported supporter of decriminalized marijuana. That lawsuit challenges the sufficiency of signatures on the initiated act.

Here's the lawsuit. Toni Rose is the individual plaintiff. I note that Friday Law Firm is the counsel, as it was on the suit against the initiated act. David Couch, the lawyer leading the medical marijuana amendment campaign, had said he believed the Friday firm had a conflict in handling a case against his amendment because its major financial backer is businessman Cheney Pruett, who he described as a client of the Friday firm. Pruet, whose interests include payday lending, apparently has an interest in the marijuana business. I've asked Couch for comment. UPDATE: He said, "I'm surprised and shocked it was filed by the Friday firm."

His response to the complaint itself:

One of the things I tried to do with this amendment was to keep the same structure and language used in 2012. In 2012 the ballot title was approved by the Supreme Court. The items set forth in the complaint involve language or similar language that was in the 2012 proposal. I see nothing in the complaint that would give the reasonable voter any pause for concern. Also, it was a difficult process to get the ballot title approved by AG Rutledge but that process only made the ballot title better and more complete.  

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