ARKANSAS: In 2012, Arkansas voters rejected an initiative that would have legalized the use of medical marijuana. The measure failed by a narrow margin, roughly 51 percent to 49 percent, and fact that they came that close has marijuana advocates doubling down on the 2014 general election.
“I think Arkansas is really ready for it,” said Melissa Fults, Campaign Director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the group behind last year’s ballot initiative. “I really think Arkansas is ready for the medical. Most people didn’t think we had a chance last time.”
Fults uses cannabis to treat arthritis, fibromyalgia and migraines. She does not like smoking it so she ingests it through other methods and says she hates breaking the law.
“It’s terrifying,” said Fults. “To say that I use cannabis is frightening because I can be arrested, but the medications that they can give me have such severe side-effects for me and make me so deathly ill, I either have to choose using an illegal substance or spend half of my time in bed and I would probably be in a wheelchair by now.”
“If this were being done the way we do other drugs: through the FDA, through a pharmacy, with a prescription from a doctor, all those things, then that would be one thing, but that’s not what this is,” said Family Council Action Committee Executive Director Jerry Cox. “If it were about medicine the doctors, the pharmacists, the health care people would all be in favor of it, but they’re not. They’re telling us this is bad medicine.”
Cox says medical marijuana advocates are more interested in full decriminalization and making profits than they are in helping sick people.