LITTLE ROCK — Eighty-nine public officials and 30 organizations in Arkansas have come out against a ballot issue to legalize medical marijuana, a coalition opposed to the measure said Friday, four days before the general election.
The measure’s sponsor said he does not believe voters will by swayed by the statements of politicians.
Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana said during a news conference at the state Capitol that Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, 84 state legislators and groups such as the Arkansas Hospital Association, the Arkansas Medical Society, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators and the Arkansas Fraternal Order of Police oppose Issue 6.
“We have a large group of people from around the state who are adamantly opposed to Issue 6 and have said consistently since this discussion began that legalization of (medical) marijuana is not something we want in Arkansas,” said state Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe.
Little Rock lawyer David Couch, sponsor of Issue 6, said Friday, “I think people are tired of politicians telling them what they can or can’t do.”
The University of Arkansas’ Arkansas Poll, released Wednesday, found that 49 percent of respondents who described themselves as very likely voters said they support the measure and 47 percent said they oppose it — with the margin between them being less than the poll’s margin of error of 4.1 percent.
The poll was conducted largely before Issue 7, a rival measure to legalize medical marijuana, was disqualified by the state Supreme Court. Bledsoe, the spokesman for Arkansans Against Legalized Medical Marijuana, said Friday he is not concerned about Issue 7’s supporters voting for Issue 6.
Supporters of Issue 7 “are pretty upset with the folks at Issue 6. I think they realize that it was the Issue 6 supporters and the big marijuana dollars from out of state that actually took Issue 7 off the ballot. They’re the ones that sued and had the Supreme Court take this off the ballot,” he said.
Couch said, “I think most of 7 supporters will vote for 6 because medical marijuana is so important to them.”