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September 5, 2012

Following the money surrounding medical marijuana initiative in Arkansas

120831122320_marijuana_voteThis local story, headlined "Financial side of medical marijuana on ballot in Arkansas," provides a detailed account of investments on the competing sides in the Arkansas ballot initiative over medical marijuana. Here are the basic detail:

Thousands of dollars has been spent to put the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act on the ballot and now with a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas to remove the act, thousands more will be spent to fight it.

It's an issue that is getting individuals and national organizations to open their checkbooks. "It's been a full on campaign for a little over a year now," says Chris Kell, spokesperson for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.  It is a non-profit campaign instrumental in putting the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act on the ballot.

"We've raised a lot of money from Arkansans from very generous support financially from Marijuana Policy Project," says Kell.  The Marijuana Policy Project is a national non-profit agency that works to reform marijuana laws.  So far, they've spent more than $250,000 to get medical marijuana legalized in Arkansas.

"We are entirely a member supported organization.  We have over 50,000 dues paying members and basically when we go into these campaigns, we like to focus on whatever we can do to get the issue in front of the voters.  In this case, paying for petition gatherers and public education," says Morgan Fox with MPP.

"Our funding comes from individuals and churches right here in Arkansas and that's what I would expect to be the case with this campaign as well," says Jerry Cox, Director of the Family Council Action Committee.  It is a group formed by four Arkansas non-profit agencies (Family's First, The Arkansas Family Coalition, The Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council and Family Council) fighting to remove the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act from the ballot. They recently filed a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas saying the ballot title did not adequately explain the measure.

Cox says fundraising has just begun and only a few thousand dollars is being used to fight the measure right now but he expects that number to change.  "I would expect our funding to come from right here in Arkansas and it should because the people here in Arkansas are the ones most affected if this measure passes," says Cox.

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The people fighting this inititiave should be ashamed. Who are they to oppose someone with a potential life threatening disease the ability to combat pain and suffering?

Posted by: Anon | Sep 5, 2012 12:57:45 PM

Posner sees the light!

"Judge Richard A. Posner, a Chicago law school professor and Reagan-appointed jurist on the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, said Thursday that the criminalization of marijuana is “really absurd,” explaining that he sees no difference between the currently-criminalized substance and cigarettes.

“I don’t think we should have a fraction of the drug laws that we have,” he said, speaking to an audience at Elmhurst College in Illinois. “I think it’s really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana. I can’t see any difference between that and cigarettes.”

Posner added that he’s also “skeptical about the other drug laws,” saying it’s not “sensible” to apply criminal law to solve the problem of addiction.

Of course, the irony in Posner’s comments is that he was appointed by a president who went down as one of the nation’s most charasmatic drug warriors ever: President Ronald Reagan, who once declared that he was convinced “smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.”

Later in his speech, a wide-ranging talk on the troubles posed by the interaction of capitalism and democracy, Posner went on to say that President Barack Obama’s auto-bailouts were “a very good thing” because they saved so many jobs, but added that the healthcare reform bill “probably impeded recovery” somewhat because it created uncertainty in the markets.

The respected conservative jurist made headlines recently when he declared to National Public Radio that he’d become “less conservative since the Republican Party started acting goofy.”

This video was published to YouTube on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012.

Posted by: onlooker | Sep 7, 2012 5:53:12 PM

Aaah, it will definitely hurt to spend thousands of dollars more, but Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act must be protected. I have always heard that marijuana alleviates patients with chronic pain.

Posted by: marijuana laws | Sep 10, 2012 3:56:17 AM

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