Arkansas approves medical marijuana; fight still promised | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Arkansas approves medical marijuana; fight still promised

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 6:40 AM

click to enlarge SURVIVOR: The medical marijuana amendment withstood a legal challenge.
  • SURVIVOR: The medical marijuana amendment withstood a legal challenge.
Arkansas voters approved medical marijuana, Issue 6, by a comfortable 53-47 margin. A victory in the Bible Belt South was viewed as highly significant by marijuana backers in the move to push federal government to remove cannabis from the Schedule 1 narcotics list.

Florida and North Dakota joined the medical marijuana bandwagon, too, and California, Nevada and Massachusetts  have legalized it entirely.

But ....

A fight against the will of the people is promised in an excited news release from the religious conservative Family Council. It says it will fight implementation "tooth and nail."

It will be harder, Family Council leader Jerry Cox acknowledges, because it's a constitutional amendment, with a difficult path to amendment.

But Cox said his group already has ideas for anti-marijuana legislation. "For example, we need to prevent marijuana advertising, define what it means to be impaired, clarify zoning options for cities and counties and figure out how to keep marijuana out of our schools."

On the other side: Big money. We don't yet know who all the money is besides, payday lender Cheney Pruett of Texarkana. But a Republican operator, Keith Emis, handled the advertising for the marijuana group. An old Republican family may be tied to one of the sources of dark money for the effort. Sen. Jon Woods outed himself proudly last night as one of the architects of the medical marijuana amendment. Perhaps that's why he decided not to run for re-election, planning a future in marijuana. He has not other readily discernible means of regular support.

The populist/libertarian cadre that brought the country Donald Trump might not appreciate somebody immediately attacking their also fervent desire for marijuana relief for sick people. Add some key Republican supporters and the Family Council's promise of crippling legislation might not be so easy to achieve.

A STRAY THOUGHT: The marijuana merchants will need a lobbyist. What better candidate than a former Republican senator? Of course, he'd have to "consult" rather than lobby for a time.

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