LITTLE ROCK — The makers of a medical marijuana dispensing machine filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the Family Council and its president, Jerry Cox, over the Family Council’s use of a life-sized cutout of one of the machines at a news conference last week.

Arizona-based Medicine Dispensing System and Delaware-based Kind Clinics filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Little Rock. The suit accuses Cox and the Family Council of defamation, negligence and federal trademark dilution.

The Christian conservative Family Council has been campaigning against a proposed initiated act on Tuesday’s ballot that would legalize medical use of marijuana for people with certain health conditions.

The plaintiffs allege that the Family Council damaged their reputation by displaying an image of one of their machines with the word "Medbox" and a large marijuana leaf printed on it, and that Cox misrepresented the way the machines operate when he said they are open "24/7" and described them as "vending machines."

"The above referenced statements … damage the reputation of the plaintiffs and are falsely derogatory," the plaintiffs said in the suit.

They said the machines are used in hospitals, pharmacies, urgent care centers and doctor’s offices, and that the highest level of security is provided to ensure that only authorized users have access to them.

The plaintiffs are asking for an unspecified amount of damages, an injunction forbidding the Family Council from making false statements about the machines and a court order requiring the Family Council to make a public apology.

Cox did not immediately return a call Friday afternoon seeking comment.