Final Push For Advocates To Get Medical Marijuana On Ballot

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The deadline is fast approaching for one medical marijuana group that's looking to collect enough signatures to force a ballot initiative.

The group Arkansans for Compassionate Care only has half of the signatures they need. With a few weeks to go, the group's members say they are not worried, though.

Emma Yingling is with Arkansans for Compassionate Care. She said they have between 30,000 and 35,000 signatures. To get the proposed measures placed on the November 2014 ballot, the group needs to collect 62,507 signatures by July 7.

"You've got to stay positive," Yingling said. "I know people personally that need this medicine to live. When we were canvassing today, I met a woman who has a daughter with epilepsy. She told me her child can not move. She said she sees other children on the internet from Colorado and other states that have it legalized medicinally and they are walking, they are talking and they are laughing. She said she does not want to move to Colorado, because she wants to stay in Arkansas to be with her family, friends and for her job. I think about things like that and there's no way we can't make this happen. We've got to continue to fight for this."

The group's proposal would allow people suffering from specific diseases and painful ailments access to the drug. It would also allow those who live away from the marijuana dispensaries, perhaps in rural areas, to grow a few of their own medicinal marijuana plants.

Yingling said her group is focused on the specifics of the initiative. A medicinal marijuana initiative failed in Arkansas by two percentage points in 2012. Yingling said this time, her group has tried to fully educate voters on the positive effects of medical marijuana, a measure she believes will push the vote over the top.

Rose Dudley lives in Arkansas. She believes Arkansans should have the opportunity to vote whether to legalize medical marijuana this year.

"As far as recreational use, I'm not as lenient for that," she said. "I do think it's important to legalize it, so that the government can regulate it. Therefore, it would make it a little bit safer for people to have access to something like that, especially for medical usage."

Emily Pianalto also lives in the natural state. She said if the initiative does not make it on this year's ballot, it will likely make it in the future.

"I don't know if we are quite there yet," she said. "With the recent stuff that has been going on like the right for gays to get married, I feel like we are really working towards being more progressive."

Yingling recognizes Arkansans for Compassionate Care has a long way to go before next month's deadline, but said she's confident the initiative will make it onto the ballot. But if it does not make it this year, she said she's not giving up.

"I hope I don't have to consider that, but when I see patients everyday that need this medicine to live, I couldn't not fight for it again," she said.

For a list of locations in Arkansas where you can sign visit Arkansans for Compassionate Care's website.

Yingling said you must sign the ballot in person, you can not sign online.



  • Mick Mccartney

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    More Than Half Of Doctors Support National Legalization Of Marijuana, Survey Shows”

  • Brian Kelly

    When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let’s have the compassion to allow them to have it.

    Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

    Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

    Support Medical Marijuana Now!

    “[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane.” — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana,” editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

    “[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications.” — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

    “[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate.” — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

    “Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision.” — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

    “The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses’ Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine.” — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

    “[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use.” — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, “Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” 1995

    “When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug.” — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

  • Lynn

    What do we tell the members of a family that is killed when someone who is on “medical marijuana” is driving around stoned and crashes into them? People who want this only mention how good it will be and fail to mention all of the bad.

    • James

      how many people have you heard of dying from someone driving while high? NONE, now how many people have you heard of being killed by someone who is drunk? THOUSANDS EVERY YEAR!!!!!!

      now, explain why med. marijuana is “bad” to me again??

      my wife who recently passed in february could have lived out the rest of her days at home, not in pain, with me and not up in the icu at sparks where i couldnt see her the night she died…..

      its people like you who dont understand the facts……read up before you speak up next time

      • Larry

        That’s just it James, NO facts have benn presented. All we see wanting to pass this are pot heads. Show some kind of study that shows the relief that can come from it, and I think more mainstream people might get on board. It will have to be regulated like a narcotic to be legitimate. Sorry for your loss.

      • Dannyboy

        Only 5% of the studies on marijuana seek anything but negative results, the DEA has done what they can to keep it illegal. As long as you have someone who profits from it being illegal in charge, you’re not gonna receive any kind of truth. The study under Reagan, the one that is most often referenced when people say it causes brain damage, was declassified a few years back. The test conditions involved 6 minute, 3 times per day feeds of nothing but smoke, through gas masks to rhesus monkeys.If you try, you can find positive studies, just keep in mind a lot of people profit by keeping this medicine illegal.

    • BigJohn

      Lynn, most who would use medical marijuana are already using it illegally. Most of those people who would drive stoned are already doing it. The rest have better sense than that. We’re not going to have a lot more stoned drivers. And while I wouldn’t for a second say that people should smoke pot and drive, it is true that marijuana doesn’t tend to cause that much impairment. I’ve handled an awful lot of DWI cases as an attorney involving alcohol and every other drug. The real threat, besides drunks, is all these people on painkillers like hydrocodone and Oxycontin and people on anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax and muscle relaxers or combinations of these drugs. You should see the dashcam videos of these DWI arrests and field sobriety tests and so on. We have a lot of medicated people on our roads who are knee walking “drunk” from these pills. Those just on pot barely seem impaired if at all. They shouldn’t smoke and drive, but don’t tend to be that big of a threat because marijuana just does not cause the level of impairment alcohol and these other drugs can cause.

      Don’t worry though. They won’t get enough signatures this time and even if they did it wouldn’t pass. It’s a midterm election and most people at the polls will be really old or super political conservative types fighting a culture war. Eventually though we will have medical marijuana here, if we don’t just skip to legal recreational marijuana. That’s coming everywhere. it is inevitable. A slight majority in this country are for it now and more states will legalize like Colorado and Washington have done. Support just keeps growing. It’s not that pot is so good. It is an unhealthy vice. It’s just too popular to ban with any success, like alcohol, and we’re blowing a fortune and causing every problem we caused with our failed experiment with alcohol prohibition and more trying in vain to keep up this ban that hasn’t put a dent in the supply or demand for marijuana.

      I was disappointed to see the last ballot initiative on medical marijuana fail. I was hoping it would pass and people would abuse the heck out of it. That may sound just terrible to you but I’ve also handled many thousands of pounds worth of drug cases as an attorney and I know that the market in Arkansas is still dominated by Mexican pot and these guys are the same ones bringing in most all the meth and cocaine consumed here and the fact that they have all these weed customers makes it much easier for them to get their far worse drugs out. In states with loose medical marijuana laws, the people who go get medical marijuana cards who don’t really need them are already dedicated potheads to begin with. The heaviest users are the ones who go do this. It’s not worth the trouble to everybody else. All that would happen is that the source of the product these people consume would change. It would be locally grown. Arkansans would be making the money and these horrible drug trafficking organizations wouldn’t have nearly as many people buying their cartel produced weed that they could offer all their far worse drugs. With our large Hispanic population and proximity to the border and position on I-40 we need to legalize marijuana more than most states. This is true of most Southern states, but we will be the last ones to legalize marijuana probably.

      It’s not going to hurt us though because most people who want to smoke pot are already doing it, especially the idiots who will cause the problems you worry about. The precious few who don’t do it just because it’s illegal are the least of our worries. They’ve already shown that they are law abiding citizens with self control. Most won’t smoke pot though because there are plenty of good reasons not to do it that have nothing to do with its’ legal status. You won’t. I won’t. Most people you know won’t. The law isn’t what stops us. It stops precious few. Marijuana is all over our state and it’s cheaper than beer on a per use basis. It’s super easy to find and it’s easy to get away with smoking it. We’re just spinning our wheels and doing more harm than good keeping it illegal.

  • Lynn

    You just proved my point with when speaking about alchol related deaths, you get upset because you only see your view as right, because that’s what YOU want. And yes, many people are killed every day because of drivers who are “high”. There is no debating with someone like you because like I said, you only see what you want as being the right thing.

  • Lynn

    And yes, very sorry for you loss and others that have lost people. Oponents of this have also lost people from impaired drivers. If it could be regulated and not abused then it would go a lot farther, but like mentioned look at a lot of people who are pushing for it for the wrong reasons.

    • Doodad

      LYNN . . . . . . You would be surprised who is supporting this issue, but cannot let it be known due to their professional position in the work field and/or the community and must stay ” In the Closet ” because at this point it is illegal !

  • caliboss

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

    ENLIGHTENMENT…i was a brainwashed evil, mean, christian conservative until i tried it at 17 years old…i hated gays, immigrants, women’s rights, blacks, marijuana, i was Rush Limbaugh’s #1 fan….until i smoked marijuana….changed the world

    1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy…#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed…

    “any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death” – cali secret 420

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states and NEW YORK, sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

    Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
    Deaths by Tobacco: Millions
    Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
    Deaths by Guns: Millions
    Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions
    Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever…they are killing my American family while denying freedom

    love and freedom forever


  • Yellow Card

    Marijuana should be legalized and taxed!
    Just think of the revenue it could bring to state funds!
    Alcohol is harder on you than marijuana is,
    I went to the website and found the place I needed to go and sign that petition and I signed it.
    I hope to get the opportunity to vote for it in november.

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