AG rejects medical marijuana proposal


LITTLE ROCK — The state attorney general on Monday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana for medical use in Arkansas.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel cited several problems with the proposal submitted by the group Arkansans for Responsible Medicine, including language that could lead people to believe they could grown their own.

“Your proposed ballot title implies that a qualifying patient’s only source of marijuana will be a nonprofit dispensary,” the opinion said. “I accordingly assume that you intend for at-home growing by patients to be disallowed, but the proposal’s language does not clearly achieve that result.”

David Couch, spokesman for Arkansans for Responsible Medicine, said the proposal does only allow for marijuana to be purchased from dispensaries and that he would rewrite that section of the proposal and resubmit it to the attorney general Tuesday.

Arkansans for Responsible Medicine isn’t the only group trying to get a medical marijuana proposal on the 2014 general election ballot.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care, which had a proposal on the 2012 ballot that was rejected by voters, has submitted three proposals to the attorney general since November. Each has been rejected.

Couch, who had been helping Arkansans for Compassionate Care with its proposal, said he left the group and created Arkansans for Responsible Medicine after disagreement over whether to include a section that allows people who live more than five miles from a dispensary to grown their own marijuana.

That section was included in the proposal before voters in 2012 and polls have indicated many voters voted against the measure because of it.

Couch said Monday he did not want to kept the section, so he drafted his own separate measure.

Under the proposal, a patient with a doctor’s certification that he or she suffers from a malady included on a list of conditions that might be helped by marijuana could purchase the drug from dispensaries.

The sale of marijuana would be subject to all state and local taxes and all of the taxes collected would be distributed equally among the Newborn Umbilical Cord Blood Bank, a newly created Arkansas Historic Preservation Fund, the Public Health Fund and the Behavioral Health Services Account Fund.