Group Petitions for Medical Marijuana in Arkansas

Posted on: 6:23 pm, August 14, 2012, by

Arkansans for Compassionate Care turned in a petition with thousands of signatures on Monday hoping to get a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in November.

Billy Coleman, of Fort Smith, lives in sometimes constant pain. He supports the initiative. Coleman takes doctor prescribed pain pills for his ailments, which include back pain.

“Those are very harsh on the system,” he said. “I mean they make you feel bad mentally and physically.”

Coleman supports doctor-prescribed medical marijuana as an alternative to pain pills.

“I’d like to be able to use something that’s not gonna destroy my liver or make me addicted to it,” he said.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care turned in more than 65,000 signatures in July, but the number of valid signatures fell short. Supporters turned in another 70,000 signatures Monday, hoping to get medical marijuana on the election ballot in November.

“I think voters will agree that a sick person should never have to choose between breaking the law and suffering,” said Ryan Denham, Campaign Director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

But not everyone is supportive of the idea.

“I just don’t think it’s got any room in our society. It’s just another drug,” said Joe Sabatucci, a medical marijuana opponent.

He worries if legalized marijuana usage could spiral out of control.

“It’s already out of hand, can’t turn around without finding patches of it being thrown everywhere,” said Sabatucci.

Supporters believe voters will approve medical marijuana if it makes the ballot.

“I want to make the law, not break the law,” said Coleman.

The Arkansas Secretary of State now has to validate the petition signatures.