Battle wages over whether to legalize medical marijuana - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Battle wages over whether to legalize medical marijuana

(WMC-TV) – A fierce battle is waging over whether to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas.

People opposed to the proposal are trying to defeat the bill on the November ballot.

Under the bill, only Arkansas doctors would be able to write medical marijuana prescriptions, and from there, a patient would need to get a license from the Arkansas Health Department.

Even with strict guidelines, opponents say legalizing medical marijuana is a slippery slope.

Emotional campaign ads featuring cancer patients are running in Arkansas pushing for Issue 5.

Issue 5 on the November 6 ballot would allow doctors in the state to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes.

If a person lives more than five miles from a dispensary, it would be legal for them to grow their own.

Opponents are now raising serious concerns, asking if the measure would open the door for marijuana vending machines.

In a Little Rock news conference Tuesday, the Family Council Action Committee announced that its office is seeking an opinion from the attorney general.

"What kind of criminal activities can be associated with these machines being set up?" wondered Jerry Cox, Family Council Action Committee president.

Supporters of the 8,700 word bill say it specifies at length who can maintain marijuana.

"Dispensaries would sell it much like a pharmacy would and for the folks who possess it they would keep it inside under lock and key. There are no vending machines," said Chris Kell, Arkansas for Compassionate Care.

Still, opponents argue that the measure is a back-door approach and that the marijuana is bound to fall into the hands of unauthorized users.

Other guidelines under the measure mandate that a patient possess no more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana at one time.

It is an issue still up for debate across the Mid-South but Arkansans will cast their vote come November 6.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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