Arkansans for Responsible medicine, the same Arkansas group that pushed to legalize marijuana in 2012 and 2014, has secured approval to begin gathering signatures to place a similar measure on the ballot in 2016.

The group says they plan to launch their 2016 petition drive at a picnic in North Little Rock on September 6. The same group failed by 30,000 votes in the November 2012 election. This year they were short of the 62,000 signatures needed to place the measure on the 2014 ballot.

In 2012 the group received over $750,000, mostly from out-of-state marijuana interests. In 2014 they received little funding, so they were unable to pay large numbers of canvassers to gather signatures.

Amid a growing body of evidence that marijuana causes brain damage, especially in teenagers, Gary and Melissa Fultz of Hensley, leaders of Arkansans for Responsible medicine, seem undeterred. The State of Colorado, where marijuana is legal for all uses, has begun posting warnings to children and teenagers that marijuana use can lead to memory loss and schizophrenia.

The 2016 Arkansas proposal is almost identical to the previous ones. It allows “medical” marijuana use for people who have chronic pain or nausea. Anyone of any age, even children, can smoke it. It requires no prescription from a doctor, it is not distributed through a pharmacy, and it allows people who live a certain distance away from a marijuana store to grow their own marijuana at home.

These “medical” marijuana efforts have always been about legalizing marijuana. Look at Colorado and Washington State, where marijuana was first legalized for “medical” use but is now legal for all use.

This is not about medicine and it is not about sick people. It is about the expansion of a powerful marijuana industry into Arkansas.

Photo Credit: “Bubba Kush” by Coaster420 – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.