LITTLE ROCK 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.