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Family Council committee sued over marijuana vending-machine image

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published November 2, 2012 at 11:02 a.m. Updated November 2, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.


FILE — Jerry Cox, president of Family Council, speaks in Little Rock on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, as he motions to a a cardboard cutout of a Medbox machine.

— A company that makes vending machines for dispensing medication says it has sued the Family Council Action Committee and director over the organization's use of its image in a recent news conference against the medical-marijuana proposal on the November ballot.

Medbox, Inc. said Friday that it sued the group and its director, Jerry Cox, for using the company's "trademarked imagery in a derogatory fashion" during the news conference.

Cox stood next to a cardboard cutout of a Medbox machine during the event at the state Capitol on Tuesday in which he criticized the medical-marijuana ballot measure for not mentioning such machines.

Cox said Friday he had not reviewed the lawsuit and that his attorney had advised him not to comment on the case. But he said he was surprised by the filing.

"We a few days ago did do a press conference and we talked about the broad issue of marijuana here in Arkansas and vending machines," he said. "Now we find ourselves in a lawsuit. I was quite frankly very surprised about that."

Medbox said in a statement that the action had "tarnished the image and the technology of the company."

"The medical marijuana industry cannot justify the need for 24-hour access to the product, and that is why the company does not allow ANY of our machines to be used in that capacity in this industry," Medbox Chief Executive Officer Dr. Bruce Bedrick said. "Medbox stands for transparency, legal compliance, and responsible behavior."

Company officials say when the machines are used for medical marijuana dispensing, they are placed behind a counter where only clinic staff members can access them.

Asked if that information changed any of his group's criticisms, Cox said he couldn't comment.

"That's something that our attorney has advised us not to delve into right now," he said. "Because we don't know what the nature of the complaint is ... As much as I'd like to comment on that right now, we're not able to."

Cox said the suit "doesn't change anything" about the ballot measure, which Family Council calls a "backdoor effort" to legalize marijuana for more than just medical purposes.


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LevyRat says... November 2, 2012 at 11:37 a.m.

I'm sure these people at the "Family Council" mean well, but there are solid points for and against this issue without telling a "Clinton" about what will happen if this passes. Shame on these people!!!! I'm going to vote today, and I am now voting FOR this issue.

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GoBigRed says... November 2, 2012 at 11:53 a.m.

Won't matter. Vote for or against. The case will be in the court system for 5-10 years and if the bill was passed and survives a court challange, the legislature will pass a bill to allow pharmacists to use a “conscience” measure to not sell. And if they do, the feds will raid and close the pharmacy.

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smalltown says... November 2, 2012 at 11:59 a.m.

This is being blown out of proportion. What happened to the saying if you don't have something nice to say. This could help so many people and the ones that are uneducated about it or worried they can't fill their pocket book somehow with it don't want it. Medical marijuana should be a choice. I have never seen someone smoke marijuana and kill, rape or do any other violent crime to someone. Unlike other things that are legal and I am not a pot head or do I smoke it now because its not legal for me to. If it was I would its better for my body than the opioid I get from my doctor now to be able to get out of bed.

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southwhitehouse says... November 2, 2012 at 12:07 p.m.

The Family Council may mean well but showed incredible ignorance of trademarked images to accompany their equally incredibly backwards position on the ballot issue. @LevyRat, good for you. Smart choice to vote for the issue.

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RBBrittain says... November 2, 2012 at 12:43 p.m.

I thought there was something fishy about Jerry Cox's visual aid; as I said yesterday, he should have waited for the list of "doctors" supporting it and attacked that instead. Attacking lottery vending machines didn't work; misrepresenting an in-clinic marijuana dispenser as a vending machine certainly won't work. I early-voted "no" because I think Congress should decide first, but if I had known Cox would pull this I might have voted differently...

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ArmyMedic says... November 2, 2012 at 12:53 p.m.

I hope the company wins their lawsuit against the Family Council & Cox. I hope they bankrupt them so Cox will shut his mouth & stay out of other people's business. Adults know whats the best for themselves not some spotlight looking Cox.

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ToTheLeft says... November 2, 2012 at 1:26 p.m.

Jerry Cox needs to mind his own business and STFU.

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NoUserName says... November 2, 2012 at 1:30 p.m.

My understanding is that some of the nursing stations @ UAMS have similar 'vending machines.' I'll expect Jerry's press conference shortly.

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elwoody says... November 2, 2012 at 2:37 p.m.

This article is despicable. You can go to the Arkansas Times/blog and read the entire lawsuit. It spells out the extent of Cox's lying about the machines and how they work. There's several layers of security required by the company before a person can use the machines. They must be pre-approved, provide a card, use a thumbprint. Cox knew all this and still lied. Now he's lying about the lies he previously told.
Isoni, the pharmacists are not involved with this bill's provision. That's why they're opposed. They won't get their usual 200-300% markup. Ballot Issue #5 specifies "state licensed", non-profit vendors will dispense the medicine.

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picexpert says... November 2, 2012 at 2:45 p.m.

Ha ha JC!We gonna run you outta town with a lawsuit in your pocket!Pretzel THAT!

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