Arkansans Cast Votes on Controversial Medical Marijuana Issue

A controversial topic had both supporters and opponents of medical marijuana flocking to the polls on Election Day.

In a television advertisement, Emily Williams, wife of Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams, openly admits she smoked marijuana.

“I don’t think people can understand the guilt that a person can feel for knowing that they’re doing something that puts everybody they love at risk,” said Williams.

Williams had cancer. She says she turned to marijuana when other medicine quit working.

“I was too sick not to use it,” she said. “I had no help from my physicians. All they would do was prescribe another pharmaceutical that didn’t work.”

Dr. James Bledsoe, a surgeon for more than three decades, says patients have other options.

“We have Marinol, which is synthetic marijuana, are FDA approved right now,” said Dr. Bledsoe. “It comes in 2.5, 5 milligram, 10 milligram capsules.”

Dr. Bledsoe worries about the side effects of marijuana.                                            

“We know it’s not a safe drug,” he said. “You can’t overdose on smoking marijuana, but there are long term effects.”

If Arkansas voters approve medical marijuana, the drug is still illegal under federal law.

“Even if it does become legal I will not prescribe it and certainly would not want people having access to it they’ve grown themselves,” said Dr. Bledsoe.

Opponents say if medical marijuana passes they’re worried the state health department will not have enough personnel to oversee what’s going on.

Supporters say the issue here is not about recreational marijuana use.

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