When I read that Arkansas’ medical marijuana initiative was officially approved for the 2012 ballot, it was hard to keep myÂ excitementÂ contained. I have always thought that Arkansas has the best chance among the Southern states because of their initiative requirements (no signature zone requirements, such as in Florida). I also was able to meet some members of Arkansas Students for Sensible Drug Policy earlier this year, so I know how much hard work has gone into the signature gathering effort and other areas of the campaign.
It was with great sadness that I read about opposition mounting against the initiative. It has always frustrated me that there are people out there that feel the reefer madness propaganda they were taught growing up somehow trumps human compassion. If a medical marijuana opponent was in the shoes of a suffering patient, I guarantee they would want to be able to consume any kind of safe medicine that could cure orÂ alleviateÂ their symptoms. That goes for cannabis, or any other substance that is proven to be safe. However, it’s always easier for people to throw stones at others that fall into a category that the stone-thrower doesn’t.
So who is opposing medical marijuana in Arkansas? And what is their reasoning? Let’s check out an excerpt from a local media outlet to try to gain a better understanding of what it means to be ignorant and heartless:
“The Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values…members include Larry Page of the Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council, Jerry Cox of the Family Council Action Committee, Bill Wheeler and Alan Talburt of Families First Foundation, and Bob Hester of the Arkansas Family Coalition.” – NWAHomepage.Com
The article went on to quote Jerry Cox as saying, “This measure has little to do with compassionate care. If medical marijuana proponents had the best interests of patients in mind, they would lobby Congress to pass a legal measure that would let the medical community test marijuana for health applications. They would let the FDA prescribe unified treatment and dosing standards. That’s what the American Medical Association thinks they should do, and I’m inclined to agree.”
Guess what Mr. Cox, WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET THE FEDS TO DO RESEARCH FOR DECADES! It’s not activists’ faults that Congress hasn’t done what’s right yet. Why is it that people feel so strongly against medical marijuana, yet don’t do the easy research that is needed to bolster (or in this case kill) their argument? Activists have been trying to get the federal government to reschedule cannabis, and study it for a long, long time Mr. Cox. IF MEDICAL MARIJUANA OPPONENTS HAD THE BEST INTEREST OF PATIENTS IN MIND, THEY WOULD LET US TAKE THEM UP ON THEIR OFFER AND DO FEDERAL LEVEL RESEARCH!!
The fact is, Mr. Cox knows what a lot of political scientists also know – that it’s WAY easier to maintain the status quo and stick your head in the ground than it is to bring about real, positive change in politics. Mr. Cox knows that he has no solid arguments, and that a vast majority of Arkansas voters, if given a fair explanation, would vote for the initiative. So rather than run a truthful campaign, the Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values is going to run a boogieman campaign.
I guess there’s only one thing left to do – let Mr. Cox and his group know about all of the research that has been done despiteÂ the federal government’s unwillingness to do what Mr. Cox claims he wants to have happen. If Mr. Cox truly just wants research, than he should be delighted to get all of the information that is already out there. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that despite the overwhelming evidence that marijuana is medicine, Mr. Cox will not change his tone, even when presented with the facts. What argument will he cling to next? I guess we’ll have to hold our noses and wait and see.
I couldn’t find contact information directly to the Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values, which is not uncommon for hack, anti-medical marijuana organizations. But what I did find was the phone number and general e-mail information for Jerry Cox’s home organization, the Family Council Action Committee.Â (501) 375-7000Â firstname.lastname@example.org. Call and e-mail often. I suggest telling them how medical marijuana has saved someone in your family!