Despite being legal in one-third of the nation, medical marijuana has yet to be sanctioned in the Southern USA – the mid-Atlantic state of Maryland is hardly representative. But this November, legal medicinal cannabis may finally gain a criminally overdue foothold in the Bible Belt as Arkansas voters will have the opportunity to approve the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act.
Last Wednesday, the Arkansas Secretary of State confirmed their office had received 69,000 valid signatures from registered voters, far exceeding the required 62,507 signatures. The organization Arkansans for Compassionate Care is to be lauded for going above and beyond in gathering more than enough signatures as part of their concerted efforts to bring medical marijuana to that region of the country.
The ease with which the medical pot group was able to gather the signatures is encouraging, given that the November vote will likely come down to the wire. Even though there is obvious passion for the issue, Arkansas is still a conservative Southern state and indeed this dichotomy is reflected in the latest poll that revealed 47 percent favored legalizing medical pot with 46 percent opposed. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act would allow for necessary nonprofit dispensaries to cultivate and distribute medical cannabis. For those who live five miles beyond a dispensary, they would be permitted to grow their own medicine.
As reported by Rolling Stone, the rightist Arkansas Family Council predictably denounced the forthcoming medical pot initiative, though perhaps they should change their name to the Healthy Family Council, lest any of their members be struck with an affliction best treated by medical pot.
For those who think for themselves, the fate of medical marijuana in Arkansas will be decided in the voting booth on November 6 and perhaps the “Natural State” can live up to its name when it comes to medicine.