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Conservative Religious Group Fighting Arkansas Medical Marijuana Initiative


Arkansasby Phillip Smith

An Arkansas group is already gathering signatures to place a medical marijuana initiative on the November 2012 ballot, and now the effort is sparking a critical reaction from a local Christian conservative “traditional family values” organization. But medical marijuana backers say they have God on their side, too.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care won approval in April to circulate petitions for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act. It needs to gather 62,507 valid voter signatures by next July to appear on the November 2012 ballot. The group said it plans to gather double the required number to provide a large cushion in case large numbers of signatures are found to be invalid.

The initiative would allow patients with serious illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and PTSD whose doctors recommend medical marijuana to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Patients would obtain marijuana from one of up to 30 state-regulated dispensaries or, if they don’t live near a dispensary, they or a designated caregiver could grow their own. Patients more than five miles from a dispensary could grow up to six plants.

“I’ve talked to dozens and dozens of patients across the state,” the group’s Ryan Denham told Fox 16 TV News Monday night. “People that suffer from debilitating medical conditions things like multiple sclerosis, cancer, hepatitis c, and the patients are really kind of just fed up with the fact that they have to break the law to get the medicine their doctor recommends,” he said.

“There are no southern states that have legalized medical marijuana, so I think it would send definitely an important message nationally to the Congress that our system is broken and patients need access to medical marijuana. And just to be clear, we’re not trying to decriminalize marijuana or to provide it recreationally, this is only for people that are sick or have terminally ill conditions,” Denham clarified.

That’s not good enough for the Little Rock-based Family Council Action Committee (FCAC), which issued a statement Tuesday expressing concern about the measure. The group describes itself as “standing up for traditional family values in the political arena” and references scripture as a guide. It is best known for sponsoring a failed 2008 initiative effort that would have barred gays from adopting children.

Medical Marijuana“Substance abuse creates very real problems for families,” said FCAC President Jerry Cox in the statement. “If a husband or wife is addicted to something, it’s going to put a strain on that marriage. It’s going to put a strain on their kids. If you think we have problems with marijuana now, just wait until it becomes legally available,” he warned.

“This law would make Arkansas one of the most liberal states in the nation, where marijuana is concerned,” Cox continued. “And there are too many unanswered questions. How are we going to be sure medical marijuana grown in Arkansas isn’t sold illegally across state lines? I’ve read marijuana can be cultivated with varying levels of active ingredients in it much the same way nicotine levels can be manipulated in tobacco. How are they going to keep marijuana growers from using that to make their product more potent or addictive?”

But if Cox thinks medical marijuana is the devil’s weed, Arkansans for Compassionate Care is prepared to fight back. Its web site contains a Resources for the Faith Community page that begins with an exhortation form God to Zebediah to “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” The page then lists eight major religious denominations that support medical marijuana and their reasons for doing so.

Artilcle From StoptheDrugWar.orgCreative Commons Licensing


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  1. Its NOT addictive and can help ease people who have certain medical conditions and possibly help them in their marriage. Think about it if you have a headache and not feeling good then you wont be in a good mood and could possibly unintentionally start an argument with your spouse, but if your getting ease from your pain and are not suffering then you can be in a better mood which would more likely eliminate that problem from happening. I am a veteran with PTSD and I know first hand that it DOES help with my condition and does eliminate a lot of stress and other things as well. I have already signed the petition and I have some petitions if anyone would like to sign one to get it put on the 2012 ballot. Just look up Arkansas Compassionate Care on facebook and they will give you whatever information you would like to know about Medical Marijuana.

  2. I am a christian and I am very strong in my beliefs. I am also pro legalization. I think most christians look at marijuana as such a harmful drug because of how the government has labled it. I know countless numbers of people in my church who take opiates for pain but that is ok because it comes from a doctor and the government obviously promotes it. Being a holistic healer myself I work with people who can benefit greatly from the use of the herb. I work with all kinds of herbal remedies to heal people with great success. Marijuanna is just another healing herb. I don’t recommend smoking it because smoke of any kind is harmful to the lungs but using it in teas and edible form is incredibly healing. Everything from the leaf to the bud. The whole plant is usable for healing. I think if the goverment never started to label the plant as a drug it would be looked at by all the same way horsetail nettle or comfry is… a healing herb that has many uses.

  3. “”Prohibition… goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control mans’ appetite through legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not even crimes… A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our Government was founded.”
    – Abraham Lincoln

    When 850k Americans are arrested annually for something that is safer than the beverages you can buy in any “Sack of Suds” convenienc­e store, there is a human rights issue. The latest polls show 55% of Americans are in favor of the legalizati­on of marijuana. Add to that the FAILED 40+ year Drug War is focused mainly on marijuana and has cost us the U.S. taxpayers a Trillion dollars. It’s time to treat marijuana EXACTLY as we do alcohol. Legalize and regulate!
    If you are concerned about keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors, take it out of the hands of Black Market dealers and put it under the control of licensed, responsible people! Or you can trust the Blackmarketeers to do the right thing. It’s your choice.

    Please stop using fear mongering over facts, Mr Cox. To do otherwise is bearing false witness. Do your homework; Marijuana laws are based on lies. Google Marijuana, Anslinger, Hearst and DuPont if you want to know the truth.
    Dems and Reps, different pages from the same bad book!
    LEAP.cc Law Enforcemen­t Against Prohibitio­n. MP, NYPD ret.

  4. I would like to sign a petition, I live in Arkansas and would like a chance to use my voice in getting help for those who need it. Thank you for your time!

    Lorry resident of Arkansas

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