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Medical marijuana is back, new and improved

Medical marijuana is coming back, better than ever, more passable than before.

A lawyer for the movement in Arkansas submitted a draft of an initiated act on Friday to the attorney general’s office to begin the process by which the matter would appear on the general election ballot in November 2014.

Most importantly:

The authority for people to grow their own marijuana is not contained in the new version.

Secondly:

A provision for a designated caregiver to grow plants for up to five patients is not contained in the new version.

There are other improvements, such as clarity about annual physician certification of authority to use medicinal marijuana and restrictions by which authorized dispensaries’ plants would have to be grown indoors.

The attorney general’s office will now edit around on this thing for a while, and, in time, petitions would get circulated and we could vote again.

The reasons I opposed it last time are gone. I think I’m going to have to endorse, unless the proponents would prefer I not.

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9 Responses to 'Medical marijuana is back, new and improved'

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  1. Ridiculous that patients can’t grow their own and even MORE ridiculous that it all has to be grown indoors!

    Cindy

    5 Feb 13 at 11:20 am

  2. John, I actually voted for this measure last go around. As I understand it, I learned in a conversation with their lawyer, and am sharing this with you in the hopes of getting all of the information out there for Arkansans to understand the new provisions of this bill, one of the changes made was to add a “co-op” provision, very similar to a dispensary in respect to the fees paid to the state. However, this co-op is a group of medical marijuana patients who can grow-their-own, only not in their homes. It will just be in a different facility. In my opinion, there are a few problems I have with this that are so great I will be voting no to the measure this time. I do not believe there is a limit to how many members can be in a co-op, (members of the co-op make up their own rules to most matters of operation other than those specified in the bill) and considering that the fee of $5,000 will be hard for a small group of medical marijuana patients to come up with, there will most likely be a large amount of people in each co-op, therefore wherever the group decides to plant (although it has to be an indoor facility), will be a target for theft, robberies…lots of crime possible in any scenario where large amounts of marijuana are being grown. I, personally, believe the “grow-your-own” option would have been much more secure when it comes to keeping neighborhoods safe. This large amount of marijuana being grown anywhere near me is just scary for citizens. I, myself, live in a rural part of Arkansas, and as a potential medical marijuana patient, could possibly have to drive quite a distance to even get to a medical marijuana dispensary. Then, I would have to pay dispensary prices, and for anyone on a budget is nowhere comparable to the current pain medications I get from my pharmacy where my insurance is accepted. It seems to me the new draft of this bill only promotes another big pharmacy industry in Arkansas, except instead of pharmaceuticals it will be marijuana. By taking the grow-your-own out, this gives dispensaries an unfair advantage. It also seems to me that those who are without a substantial amount of money to either start a co-op for $5,000 or buy dispensary medical marijuana, are just out of luck, which would be the majority of Arkansans who could benefit from it. My mother-in-law died of cancer 2 years ago. She really could’ve used this medicine to help keep food down after chemo treatments, however even with the new law proposed, like so many others, she would not be helped, b/c when she was diagnosed with cancer she was unable to work and put on social security disability with a very small income, only enough to pay utitilites and buy some groceries. I cannot vote for something that will not help those who need it most. I cannot vote for anything that is going to increase crime in my community. This is coming from someone who is an advocate for medical marijuana.

    Jennifer

    5 Feb 13 at 12:04 pm

  3. Cindy, one has to remember that a measure that included that option failed. One also must remember legislation can be amended in future sessions to allow for GYO.

    Kenton

    5 Feb 13 at 12:12 pm

  4. Jennifer,

    Many uninformed parents of the benefits of MMJ would disagree with you that GYO is the “safest” option for neighborhoods. Again, the GYO/2012 measure failed.

    Kenton

    5 Feb 13 at 12:14 pm

  5. I can see both sides. What I think is that everyone needs to realize that the ones that use without medical reasoning get it off the streets, just like the medical users right now. Illegal grows will happen regardless of any bills, for both of those reasons. Medical users have to break several laws, and deal with other criminals on the street. This keeps it unavailable to most because they are unwilling to risk the backlash of use, others take their chances. The GYO would keep some of those safer by not having to feed into the dealers in the streets, and not having to pay high prices for an herb that helps them feel better. The responsible ones will do it right, the others won’t. Legislature can’t change that. I will still vote yes, so that we are closer to letting the patients that need it get it…however, I am sure it will be an everchanging adventure at first!!

    Roya

    5 Feb 13 at 2:08 pm

  6. The grow your own was not what got it defeated last time it was the lack of education and the fact that the smaller populated counties were not covered very well by the campaign. The larger towns (L.R. Fayetteville etc.) were cover very good. Outside those areas not so much. This time around a bit more time in those areas will go a long way to getting this passed!

    Ken

    5 Feb 13 at 3:22 pm

  7. [...] By jbrummett [...]

  8. Where can we view the text of this proposal? I have some concerns for myself as disabled person. These [rumored] costs that are floating around sound impossible for any one patient on disability to be able to surmount and anyone that does must be doing something illegal to get that kind of money just to be able to use cannabis for medicinal purposes.
    Has the MMJ proposal opted to go the path of ‘as much health care as you can afford?’ Because that is pretty much the system we have now.

    Mark

    9 Feb 13 at 9:58 am

  9. Effects of marijuana. Memory problems, learning difficulties, trouble with problem solving and loss of muscle activity are among the negative effects of short-term use of marijuana. Smoking five joints a week is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Smoking marijuana, like smoking tobacco, may cause lung diseases. Long-term use of marijuana may have the same effect on the brain as other drugs, causing a loss of motivation and behavioral problems. People who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost as much as 8 points in IQ between age 13 and age 38; importantly, the lost cognitive abilities were not restored in those who quit smoking marijuana as adults. Marijuana use during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of neurobehavioral problems in babies. Marijuana overactivates the endocannabinoid system, causing the high and other effects that users experience. These include distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory. I see your problem now John!

    David

    11 Feb 13 at 10:35 pm

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