LITTLE ROCK - A group pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana in Arkansas asked a judge Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its ballot measure on the issue.
Arkansans for Compassionate Care, whose proposed initiated act to legalize medical marijuana has been approved for the November ballot, filed motions with the Arkansas Supreme Court asking to be allowed to intervene in, and asking the court to dismiss, a suit filed Wednesday by a coalition of groups opposed to legalizing medical marijuana in the state.
The suit by Arkansans Against Legalizing Medical Marijuana against Secretary of State Mark Martin alleges that Martin improperly approved the measure’s ballot title and asks the Supreme Court to strike the measure from the ballot.
In its motion to dismiss Thursday, Arkansans for Compassionate Care said the suit makes legal conclusions but does not cite facts to show how specific parts of the proposal may be deficient.
“The court can and should simply say that we can’t tell what it is you are talking about, and we don’t have to do your research for you,” the measure’s supporters said in their motion.
Later Thursday, Arkansans Against Legalizing Medical Marijuana filed an amended complaint setting out its allegations in more detail, including that ballot title does the following:
—States the measure would set limits on the use of medical marijuana, but the limits in the measure are on possession, not use.
—States the measure would set limits on the number of “cannabis care centers” where medical marijuana could be dispensed to patients, but the measure allows the state Health Department to register as many centers as it deems necessary to provide convenient access across the state.
—States the measure would establish a system for testing medical marijuana for quality, safety and potency, but the measure would not create a system for testing home-grown marijuana.
—Fails to tell voters the measure would allow the centers to sell food and drink containing marijuana.
—Fails to tell voters the measure would bar employers, landlords and schools from taking action against users of medical marijuana.
—Uses “partisan coloring in order to appeal to the compassionate and sympathetic instincts of the voters.”
The anti-medical marijuana coalition has asked the Supreme Court to expedite consideration of the case because of the nearness of the Nov. 8 election. Arkansans for Compassionate Care filed a response Thursday saying it has no objection to an expedited scheduling order.
Members of Arkansans Against Legalizing Medical Marijuana include 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.
Little Rock lawyer David Couch is seeking to place a rival medical-marijuana proposal on the 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.