LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS — The Arkansas Supreme Court dismissed a suit challenging the language of the ballot initiative that would allow seriously ill Arkansans to use marijuana to treat certain conditions with the recommendation of their doctors.
The initiative will now appear on the November state ballot as Issue 5. With the court’s decision today, Arkansas is now the first state in the Southern U.S. whose residents will have a chance to determine if their friends and neighbors will be able to use the medicine that works best for them without the fear of arrest.
Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of marijuana.
“We at the Marijuana Policy Project are very proud to support Issue 5 and Arkansans for Compassionate Care and are glad that the state Supreme Court saw fit to dismiss this baseless challenge,” said Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The people of Arkansas deserve a chance to have their voices heard, just as seriously ill Arkansans deserve a chance to live normal lives without being treated like criminals.”
“The tightly regulated system that would be implemented by the passage of this initiative would provide relief to numerous patients suffering from severely debilitating conditions while taking resources out of the hands of criminals and increasing public safety. This is not a partisan issue,” continued Fox. “It is a matter of compassion. Hopefully other states in the region will take their cue from Arkansas and begin to explore similar policy alternatives to putting sick people in jail.”
Arkansas now joins Massachusetts in considering a medical marijuana ballot initiative in the November election.