Ark. state lawmakers reiterate opposition to both medical marijuana ballot issues

The fight over medical marijuana

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Two issues on the ballot would legalize marijuana for medical use, but more than half of the state’s legislators oppose the idea. They held a press conference Monday morning voicing their concerns.

“We’ve already got a huge problem with substance abuse that we cannot afford to let grow in this state,” said state representative Dan Douglas.

Their concerns range from substance abuse to how it would affect employment, but those in favor say it's the answer for those who suffer from a number of medical conditions.

"There is no medication on the market that can do what cannabis can do," said Melissa Fults, Issue 7 campaign director.

Medical marijuana supporters argue the drug could help people suffering from cancer, Alzheimer's, and seizures.

Legislators speaking against the proposals are concerned about substance abuse.

"The majority of kids that are taken into foster care, statistically, are because of substance abuse, and that includes marijuana," said state representative David Meeks.

Fults believes the benefits of medical marijuana outweigh negative impacts.

"Why should we deprive patients, who desperately need this, that can heal their bodies, or make their pain better, and ease their lives.  Why should we deny them that?" questioned Fults.

Douglas said there are alternate solutions. If current proposals fail, he wants to introduce a bill in 2017.

"CBD, that’s the portion that helps with the seizures, helps with epilepsy," said Douglas.

His plan would allow the sale and use of high a CBD product with low THC, which is what normally provide the euphoric effects know was being "high."

"You don’t get the high off it, so the substance abuse problems go away, because who wants it if you can't get stoned," said Douglas.

“Would it be a tiny, tiny, baby step, yes.  But it’s not nearly enough," said Fults on the idea.

 

On Wednesday, October 26,  THV11 will be hosting an online Medical Marijuana forum. Supporters of Issue 6 and Issue 7, as well as Arkanas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe will join us in studio to help you understand which way to vote. You can watch live on our Facebook page starting at 7 p.m.


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