The following press release was received from the Family Council Action Committee based in Little Rock.

Friday, October 4, 2013

On Thursday afternoon Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel certified a group trying to legalize so-called “medical” marijuana to begin gathering petition signatures to place their measure on the November 2014 ballot. On Friday Family Council Action Committee President Jerry Cox released a statement.

“Ultimately, this is about legalizing marijuana,” Cox said. “This proposal is very similar to the one Arkansans voted down last November, and it still has a lot of the same problems: It’s vaguely-worded; marijuana stores will open in Arkansas; and people will still be allowed to grow their own marijuana.”

Cox said Arkansans should be especially concerned about marijuana stores and the “grow your own” provisions in the law. “This proposal plays a lot of word games. They call the marijuana stores ‘non-profit dispensaries,’ but these are businesses that do not have to register for non-profit status the same way every other non-profit charity does, they’re allowed to sell marijuana, and they’re allowed to make a lot of money doing it. That’s a store.

“The proposal also says people with a ‘Hardship’ license can grow their own marijuana. Supposedly this lets a person who can’t access a marijuana store grow their own marijuana at home. The truth is the ‘Hardship’ license is unclear, and it puts a lot of responsibility on the Department of Health to determine whether or not a person actually has a hardship. So the Health Department will have to pay people to drive around the state and verify these marijuana users are telling the truth.”

Cox said he hopes Arkansans will think carefully before they sign the petition to place the marijuana measure on the ballot. “This proposal really does not look that different from the one folks voted down last November. I think that’s something Arkansans need to consider.”