The push for medical marijuana in Arkansas is not only controversial, it is also shaping up to be confusing for voters.
Arkansans will see both the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment on the November ballot.
“I would want to research it more,” said Hasty resident, Sonja Pacock, “and I would want to choose the one that’s going to be right for the people that need it for the medical purpose.”
A recent survey from the University of Arkansas found nearly 70 percent of Arkansans supported prescribing pot as medicine.
“I don’t think marijuana is a bad thing,” said a Harrison resident, who didn’t want to be named. “It’s always been there in nature. It’s a natural drug.”
Another resident, Bettie Carol Parideo said “I think I don’t support recreational marijuana, even though I don’t consider it to be any different than alcohol. But there are some definite medical benefits to it.”
Some of those behind the campaigns to change the drug laws in Arkansas are concerned confusion surrounding the competing ballot initiatives may result in neither passing. While both measures, the AMCA and the AMMA have multiple differences, some of the biggest ones are as follows:
- The AMCA would allow doctors to prescribe pot for 56 medical illnesses, allow for at least 38 dispensaries across the state and some patients could grow up to 10 plants at home
- The AMMA would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for 14 illnesses. The number of dispensaries would be limited to 40 and growing marijuana at home would not be allowed.
“The big part of our campaign in my opinion is just educating the voters,” said Arkansas Surgeon General, Greg Bledsoe. Beldsoe’s education effort will focus on why medical marijuana is not the right choice for the Natural State. He represents the growing opposition of business, religious and law enforcement leaders.
If both marijuana measures are passed by voters, and both are deemed similar by the courts, the initiative with the most votes would win. However, a legal battle would most likely follow.