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Close marijuana vote a surprise, foe says

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published November 7, 2012 at 7:02 a.m. Updated November 7, 2012 at 7:51 a.m.

— The president of the group that rallied to oppose an act that would have allowed the sale and use of medical marijuana for patients with certain conditions said Wednesday that he was surprised by the closeness of the race.

Proponents, meanwhile, said they are already turning their attention toward new efforts for legalizing medical use of the drug.

The state voted down the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, with 51 percent opposing and 49 percent supporting, in a race that wasn't called until early Wednesday morning.

Jerry Cox, president of the Family Council, said he expected a race closer to 54-46. He said the tight race will result in even more opposition should the issue be addressed in the state Legislature or through another ballot measure in two years.

He said a number of medical and law enforcement groups that came out against the act didn't expect it would make the ballot, so they had minimal time to plan an opposition campaign.

"I think they'll be much more aware next time," Cox said.

Melissa Fults, treasurer for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said her group will first pursue the issue through the state Legislature. If that fails, she said, it will again go through a petition campaign to get it on the ballot in two years.

"Needless to say, we're disappointed," Fults said by phone Wednesday morning. "But we were so close. We did more than anybody ever believed we'd do. And we'll start right back."

Fults said she believes the closeness of the race could spur legislators to take up the issue even though previous attempts haven't worked. Cox said he doubts the General Assembly would consider a law legalizing medical marijuana.

If it comes to another petition drive, the language in the act will likely change, Fults said. In particular, change is likely to the portion of the act that called for patients living more than 5 miles from a marijuana dispensary to grow their own small plot of plants.

Fults said the changes will need to be discussed in detail within the organization and with its attorney, adding there may still be some personal grow allowance.

"We'll make some language changes," she said. "There were some things that scared people. The 5-mile rule we'll have to deal with. That probably was the only thing that hurt us."

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NoUserName says... November 7, 2012 at 8:01 a.m.

Jerry needed more time to come up with more fabrications. Seriously. I haven't been here that long, but why does Jerry Cox get any press at all?

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Drumroll says... November 7, 2012 at 8:18 a.m.

It will win the next time around. The resultsa make me very optimistic.

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behindthescenes2 says... November 7, 2012 at 8:46 a.m.

The only reason it wasn't made legal years ago is because the drug companies cannot control it and the government can't tax it because anyone can grow it. Opponents claim it is a gateway drug because illegal drug dealers sell it along with the truly dangerous drugs. There is not one reported case of anyone dying from an overdose of marijuana. The courts and our jails and prisons are overcrowded and overloaded because of criminalizing something that shouldn't be. The votes were close because those that bothered to become educated voted yes,

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RestoftheStory says... November 7, 2012 at 9:06 a.m.

Nothing but a crackhead or a simpleton would support the legalization of this type of starter drug. It's a shame that so many people are hooked on drugs in this state, nation, and world. Get off the drugs, and you just might become more productive. (If you think your job requires you to stay high to be productive, you need a real job, but you won't get it while you're high.)
Those who are sick can take medicine with a prescription. There is a procedure for establishing validity and dosages for legitimate medicine sold through a pharmacy. We have finally passed legistation to require smokers to go somewhere else to kill themselves and others with secondhand smoke. Why do some of you think we would legalize marijuana just so you could show up at work, drive automobiles, make a fool of yourself at a bar, and go around in a drug-induced stupor with that silly smile on your face?
Thankfully, some of us see through the smokescreen and have no intentions of legalizing your dangerous habit. You go ahead and bring it up again, and you will find that everybody is not doing it like your pusher suggests.

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jackrabbits1 says... November 7, 2012 at 9:10 a.m.

It's a shame that more folks can't be open about how they really feel about marijuana. I saw a post where a group of doctors had come out in support, and someone asked , where was the list of names?. Could you now imagine if that, list, were out there? It would be like throwing meat to hungry wolves. Those doctors would be ridiculed and punished by the insurance companies. Marijuana is a casual use drug in many Arkansas homes, that is in the closets. We need more "Coat and Tie" guys to come out and speak out. A lot of older folks only associate marijuana with "hipppies". Perhapse Vino's wasn't a great choice for the meet and great. I love the beer and pizza rocks, but it's not my moms venue! THANKS TO ALL WHO VOTED.........NEXT TIME WE WIN!!!!!!!!

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billg3112091102 says... November 7, 2012 at 9:14 a.m.

I guess all the drug dealers will leave the state now. Are we so naive that we believe that since the bill failed that people are going to stop using marijuana? I say, just don't bother people if they want to use it for pain or whatever. Who are we to keep something away from a person if it helps with their pain? If it grows naturally, why even bother?

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Hollyann says... November 7, 2012 at 9:18 a.m.

It amazes me that man feels he has the authority to make a plant that GOD has put on this earth for us illegal. I hope that comes up on Judgement Day.

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Hollyann says... November 7, 2012 at 9:26 a.m.

Ha! and I don't even smoke the stuff. I don't drink alcohol nor am I on any prescribed drugs. I just don't think it is a man's place to override GOD.

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ToTheLeft says... November 7, 2012 at 9:31 a.m.

If it helps you, smoke it. If it offends you, don't. Plain and simple.

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NONSHEEPLE says... November 7, 2012 at 9:38 a.m.

It's like ANYTHING else.... Who are YOU to tell ME what I can and cannot do? If YOU don't like it or want it then YOU can make the choice not to do it... Leave others to their own choices and move on with your life.

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