We find ourselves once again in Arkansas, which may become the state to open the door to medical marijuana in the southern tier of the USA. Let’s check in:
This fall, Arkansas will be the first Southern state to ask voters whether to legalize medical uses for pot, a move that offers supporters a rare chance to make inroads in a region that has resisted easing any restrictions on the drug. The state’s top elected officials and law enforcement agencies oppose the idea, but legalization groups hope the referendum shows that medical marijuana is no longer solely the domain of East Coast or Western states.
“This is an issue that hasn’t been ready for primetime yet in the South. It may be that it’s starting to be, and that’s a good thing,” said Jill Harris, managing director of Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance.
. . .
Past efforts to put medical marijuana on the ballot in Arkansas have faltered, though voters in two cities in the state have approved referendums that encourage police to regard arrests for small amounts of marijuana as a low priority. Supporters of the current proposal mounted an organized and well-funded campaign that surprised many political observers. Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the group advocating for the measure, won ballot access after submitting far more than the required 62,500 signatures.
. . .
Backlash over marijuana is nothing new for Arkansas public figures. The state’s most famous political son, former President Bill Clinton, was ridiculed during his 1992 campaign for admitting that he used marijuana in college but insisting he didn’t inhale.
And Joycelyn Elders, the Arkansas doctor who was named by Clinton to be surgeon general, drew criticism in office for suggesting that drug legalization should be studied. Elders, who is now an outspoken advocate of marijuana legalization, said she believes the Arkansas effort could pass with a strong education campaign. “If we educate the people in Arkansas, we can do the right thing,” Elders said.
There’s more on the developments in Arkansas and you can find the story HERE.
[image: Google images Arkansas]
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