LITTLE ROCK - A group formed to oppose the legalization of medical marijuana in Arkansas filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that a proposed initiated act on the issue was improperly certified for the November ballot.
Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana and Dr. Melanie Conway filed the suit with the Arkansas Supreme Court against Secretary of State Mark Martin. The group includes the Arkansas Committee for Ethics Policy, the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities and the Family Council Action Committee.
The group is asking the court to strike from the November ballot the proposed Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, which would legalize medical marijuana in the state. Martin approved the measure for the ballot last month.
The suit alleges that the measure’s ballot title gives the false impression that all marijuana would be tested for quality, safety and potency; fails to tell voters that the measure would allow “cannabis care centers” to sell food and drink containing marijuana; does not fully explain the measure’s effect on employers, landlords, churches and schools; and “uses partisan coloring in order to appeal to the compassionate and sympathetic instincts of the voters.”
The group also filed a motion asking the court to give its suit expedited consideration because of the nearness of the election.
In 2012, a group involving some of the same members filed a lawsuit challenging a medical-marijuana proposal sponsored by Arkansans for Compassionate Care, which this year is sponsoring the Medical Cannabis Act. The 2012 suit was dismissed and the proposal was defeated by voters.
Melissa Fults, campaign manager for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said Wednesday she was not concerned about the current suit.
“Jerry Cox (of the Family Council Action Committee) filed one against us in 2012 and it was thrown out, and I trust it will be again,” she said.
Little Rock lawyer David Couch is seeking to place a rival medical-marijuana proposal on the November ballot. Last Friday, Couch made a second submission of signatures to Martin’s office in support of his proposed constitutional amendment, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment.
Among the differences between the two measures is that the proposed initiated act would allow some Arkansans who do not live near a cannabis care center to grow a limited amount of marijuana at home, whereas Couch’s proposed amendment would not allow any home cultivation.