The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that Issue 5, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, will appear on the ballot this November. The voters of Arkansas will have the opportunity to become the only Southern state with a medical marijuana system.
Earlier this year Arkansans for Compassionate Care managed to gather enough signatures to qualify their measure, but the Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values filed a lawsuit to keep it off the ballot based on arguments that the initiative’s name and title were misleading. The Arkansas State Supreme Court denied this petition. From the Court’s opinion:
In conclusion, having reviewed the entirety of the parties’ briefs and arguments, we hold that the popular name and ballot title are an intelligible, honest, and impartial means of presenting the Act to the people for their consideration. We hold that it is an adequate and fair representation without misleading tendencies or partisan coloring. Therefore, the Act is proper for inclusion on the ballot at the general election on November 6, 2012, and the petition is therefore denied.
If approved, the initiative will make it legal under state law for patients with a doctor’s recommendation to use marijuana to treat specific medical conditions. The initiative would also allow for the creation of a limited number of non-profit dispensaries to provide certified patients with their medical marijuana.
In addition to Arkansas the issue of medical marijuana will also be appearing on the ballot in Massachusetts this November. If both initiatives win approval, it would bring the total number of states with medical marijuana programs to 19.