LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a proposed ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana Sept. 27, the Associated Press reported.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) was placed on the November ballot after a statewide petition gathered the required number of signatures from registered voters.
If voters approve the measure, it would make Arkansas the first state in the South to legalize medical marijuana.
Justices rejected a challenge by a coalition of conservative groups that had asked the court to block the proposed initiated act from the November ballot or order the state to not count any votes cast on the issue, the Associated Press reported.
A lawsuit challenging the medical marijuana proposal on Arkansas’ November ballot was filed Aug. 31 by the Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values (CPAV).
The CPAV asked the court to remove the proposal from the ballot. The Arkansas Committee for Ethics Policy, the companion organization to the Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council, is a member of CPAV along with Families First Action Committee, Family Council Action Committee and Arkansas Family Coalition.
While Arkansas is the first Southern state to put the medical marijuana question to voters, 17 other states – including the District of Columbia – have legalized medical marijuana in some form.
At the time the lawsuit challenging the ballot measure was filed, Larry Page, executive director of the Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council, said AMMA is “based on bad science.”
“The proposed act is over 8,000 words long, but the ballot title, which is all voters will have an opportunity to read in the ballot booth, contains only a few hundred words,” said Page. “The ballot title cannot begin to apprise voters of all the problems with the act. Because of that, the average voter will be unable to cast an informed vote.”
A poll released in July by the Arkansas TV program “Talk Business” and Hendrix College prior to approval of the ballot measure found 47 percent supported medical marijuana in the state, compared to 46 percent against and 7 percent undecided.
The poll of 585 likely voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.