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Marijuana Initiative Snuffed Out

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LITTLE ROCK -- State Attorney General Mike Beebe on Wednesday rejected
the ballot title and name of a proposed initiated act that would
legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Denele Campbell, president of the Fayetteville-based Alliance for
Reform of Drug Policy in Arkansas, said Wednesday afternoon that she
had not seen the attorney general's opinion but said the organization
will rewrite the proposal and file it again.

The attorney general wrote in the opinion that the proposal was
"ambiguous" and had "misleading tendencies."

One of the several problems mentioned was its definition of "primary

"In my opinion, the term `primary caregiver' is likely misleading,
under controlling Arkansas case law, because it does not readily
convey to the voter that this person is essentially a supplier of
marijuana," the opinion states.

"If the caregiver may acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, use,
deliver or transfer the legal amount (of marijuana) per qualifying
patient, this fact should be clearly stated to the voter," the opinion

The proposal that the drug policy reform group hopes to get before
voters on Nov. 2, 2004, would allow physician to advise patients they
would be candidates for marijuana use and would allow those patients
to possess at any given time up to six plants of marijuana or one
ounce of processed marijuana.

Campbell said marijuana is effective for pain and nausea caused by
severe illnesses, including cancer.

Once the attorney general's office approves the proposal's popular
name and ballot title, supporters then would have until July 2 to
collect the 64,465 signatures of registered voters needed to get an
initiated act on the ballot.

A similar bill was before the Legislature during the session, but it
failed in committee.

Pubdate: Thu, 23 Oct 2003
Source: Southwest Times Record (AR)
Copyright: 2003 Stephens Media Group
Contact: letters@swtimes.com
Website: Times Record: Local & World News, Sports & Entertainment in Fort Smith, AR