Montel Williams speaks during a news conference in support of legislation that would make Maryland the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana at the House Office Building on January 24, 2011 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Montel Williams, a well-known talk show host, was in Arkansas on Thursday. He is making stops across the state encouraging voters to legalize medical marijuana.
Campaigning for this issue is not new for Williams; he's spent the last 14 years working to make medicinal marijuana across the country. One reason Williams is so passionate about Issue Five, the ordinance that would make the plant legal, is because this issue hits home for him.
"I suffer from MS and I have been more than public and open about the fact that after I've gone through what I've had to go through and the amount of prescription medication that I've had to take," Williams, said. "For me, cannabis became a choice that my doctor and I had to make."
While this is a highly debated topic, Williams questions some tactics from those opposing the measure. In part of an ad, paid for by the Family Council Action Committee, a black man is shown dealing drug and the commentator referred to "dope dealers" taking advantage of the legalization.
"It's the most egregiously false, racist statement you've ever seen in your life," Williams said Thursday.
Jerry Cox with the Family Council supports the ad, saying it's accurate and that no one knows more about marijuana than drug dealers.
"He (Williams) wanted to seize on that, but that's not the message we're sending. We are sending a message that this harmful act is going to affect every family in this state if it passes," says Cox.
Earlier this week, the Arkansas Pharmacists Association spoke out against the measure. Scott Pace, Associate President with APA, says pharmacists should be the ones passing out the medicine, not dispensaries.
"Medical professionals need to be the ones that are involved in it," Pace says. "So physicians and pharmacists need to be the ones helping patients get access to the drugs, we are the medication experts."
The state's Sheriffs' Association plans to oppose the medical Marijuana amendment. Arkansans decide at the polls on November 6th is the measure passes. If passed, Arkansas would be the first southern state to legalize medical marijuana.