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Anti-marijuana group sues secretary of state over initiative's ballot title

By Brian Fanney

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Supporters of the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act stand with boxes of signatures backing their proposal at a news conference Monday, June 20, 2016.

Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana is suing Secretary of State Mark Martin over the ballot title of a proposed initiated act intended to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas.

The original action complaint was filed in the Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday. It alleges problems with the ballot title of the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act.

“It contains misleading statements, omits material information that is essential for a fair understanding of the Act, and is tinged with partisan coloring,” the complaint reads in part.

According to the complaint, the ballot title "falsely tells voters that the Act limits the use of marijuana,” “gives the false impression that all marijuana will be tested for quality, safety, and potency” and “fails to tell the voters that the Act permits 'cannabis care centers' to sell food and drink that contains marijuana,” among other issues.

Melissa Fults, campaign manager for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said she’s not worried about the complaint.

“The [attorney general’s] office is very good at writing ballot titles,” she said. "They sued us in 2012, and they lost. I don’t expect anything different this time."

Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana is asking the Supreme Court to prevent the secretary of state from “certifying any ballots cast for the Act at the general election to be held on November 8, 2016."

Members of Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana include the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation, the Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities, the Family Council Action Committee and the Arkansas Committee for Ethics Policy.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.