Election officials today gave ballot approval to a medical marijuana initiative in Arkansas. There’s obviously still a campaign that needs to be run, but regardless of what happens down the road, today is a BIG day in Arkansas! Congratulations to Arkansans for Compassionate Care for turning in the required 62,507 valid signatures (with more to spare).
“I don’t think Arkansans are any different from those other states,” Campaign Director Ryan Denham said, according to SFGate.Com. “This campaign comes down to compassion. It’s about never letting someone choose between suffering and breaking the law again. We’re building up some momentum.”
As with every state, Arkansas has a lot of citizens that are aging, and are dependent on untold amounts of harmful pharmaceuticals. The legendary Robert ‘Tuna’ Platshorn always pointed out that as an ailing senior, he was taking 12 medications. “6 for the problems I have, then another 6 to help with the side effects of the first ones” he would always say. He would then be quick to point out that he could get rid of half of them if he was allowed to use cannabis regularly.
“With Medicare’s financial woes affecting senior citizens across the nation, the mature residents of Arkansas stand to gain great benefit with safe and affordable alternatives to expensive pharmaceuticals. Arkansas residents who suffer from chronic pain and debilitating conditions will benefit from non-lethal medication which has been proven over 6,000 years of recorded human use.” writes Deborah Morgan.
I read a very interesting op-ed in the Arkansas Times by Ernest Dumas, who talks about a phenomenon that we saw here in Oregon and in other states when they had a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot. Below are a couple of paragraphs from his essay:
“Just as surprising as the success of Arkansans for Compassionate Care in gaining signatures is the apparent openness of Arkansans to vote the measure into law in November. While limited polling on the issue has been done, a Talk Business-Hendrix College poll last month showed a slight plurality of likely voters supporting the measure. Indeed, aside from the failed ethics initiative that had overwhelming public support, the measure is the most popular of all those put forward by the legislature or pursued through the petition process this year.” writes Ernest Dumas for the Arkansas Times.
Ernest Dumas went on to write, “The data from the Talk Business-Hendrix College poll provides additional evidence for this notion. In a year in which there is deep concern among Democratic partisans about turnout of their base because of the president’s unpopularity in the state, the measure is favored by just over 60 percent of Democrats, with a similar percentage of Republicans opposing the measure. Moreover, the proposal draws the support of over 60 percent of those under 30 and 57 percent of African-Americans — two groups whose electoral participation is crucial if Democrats are to avoid historic losses in the state’s legislative and congressional elections. Consider, for instance, the potential power of the measure to promote college student turnout in the hard-fought state Senate election between Democratic Rep. Linda Tyler and Republican Sen. Jason Rapert in Conway, a race that could well determine control of the state Senate in 2013.”
Congratulations Arkansas, and get ready to dig in, campaign season is heating up! If you are able to, please donate to the campaign today!