A measure that would legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas has qualified for the November ballot, according to the Associated Press.
Arkansans for Compassionate Care delivered more than a dozen boxes to the Secretary of State last month, which contained petitions with 67,885 signatures. The group’s first submission of signatures fell short after almost half of the entries were declared invalid and purged by the Secretary of State. But organizers managed to submit an additional 74,000 signatures, even though they needed fewer than 30,000.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act would allow up to 30 medical marijuana dispensaries to open in Arkansas and let patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. Cities and counties would be able to ban marijuana dispensaries under the law.
Only patients with cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Tourette’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Fibromyalgia, and Alzheimer’s Disease would be eligible to use medical marijuana.
The American Nurses Association, the Lymphoma Foundation of America and the AIDS Action Council have all said that marijuana is useful in treating symptoms of numerous diseases like multiple sclerosis, AIDS wasting syndrome and chronic nausea caused by chemotherapy, among others.
Even the nation’s largest association of doctors, the American Medical Association, has endorsed further research into marijuana’s medical properties, which could lead to the development of new medicines. Despite that promise, and the growing body of scientific knowledge on marijuana’s curative effects, most medical professionals say that inhaling smoked marijuana is not an optimal method of ingestion.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency still refuses to admit that the drug has any medical value whatsoever. So far, just 17 states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for medical use.
With prior reporting by Stephen C. Webster
[Medical marijuana via Andre Blais / Shutterstock]