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story.lead_photo.caption TV host Montel Williams speaks in favor of medical marijuana Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, on the state Capitol steps in Little Rock. ( Gavin Lesnick)

— Television talk show host Montel Williams spoke Thursday in Little Rock in support of a ballot measure that would legalize medicinal marijuana.

Williams has multiple and lateral sclerosis and says the drug helps him cope with symptoms that cause "ridiculous neuropathic" pain. He said he has used it daily for more than a decade.

"It's not about me just wanting to utilize cannabis," said Williams, a longtime advocate for legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes who says he tried numerous other treatments and has consulted with experts around the world. "I did this until I couldn't do it anymore."

Williams addressed a small crowd of supporters from the steps of the State Capitol, speaking after representatives from Arkansans for Compassionate Care, a group pushing the ballot measure. Among them were Emily Williams, who said marijuana helped her deal with the pain from symptoms of lymphoma, and Daniel Hankins, who said he wants to be able to try using marijuana for a back injury suffered while serving in Operation Desert Storm.

Montel Williams speaks in LR

TV host Montel Williams urged support for the medicinal marijuana ballot measure during a speech Thursday in Little Rock. (By Gavin Lesnick)
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Speaking in Little Rock Thursday, TV host Montel Williams criticized a Family Council ad opposing the medical marijuana ballot measure, calling it egregiously false and racist.

Williams criticizes TV ad opposing medical marijuana measure

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"The war on drugs has collateral damage on the streets of Arkansas and the streets of America," Williams said. "The collateral damage is Emily, it's Daniel, it's Melissa's son, it's Montel Williams, it's all those other people here who suffer from a malady where all the other drugs you've been given don't work."

Williams also took aim at an Arkansas Family Council ad running on TV against the measure, calling it the "most egregiously false, racist statement you've ever seen in your life."

Family Council President Jerry Cox said afterward that he stands by the ad, which suggests the act would legalize marijuana beyond just medicinal use.

"Of course Mr. Williams would say that," Cox said. "He's against what we're doing. He wants to legalize marijuana across the state of Arkansas. Of course he would accuse our ad of being false. That's what political people do."

At one point, Williams teared up while referring to a blog post that suggested the opponents of the marijuana measure could make a citizen's arrest. Williams seemed to be taking at face value a satirical entry posted Wednesday on the Arkansas Blog.

"This is the first state I have been to doing advocacy on this issue where on a blog someone suggested that one of these clergy members here walk up and perform a citizen's arrest on me," he said. "... Well, you know what? You won. This is first time in about 100 days that I've been in this much pain because I haven't been able to use my medication in the last two days getting here."

The measure will appear on the November ballot under Issue 5.

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Archived Comments

  • ozarkbees
    October 18, 2012 at 12:23 p.m.

    Many stories like this one. I know of two cancer patients currently using this drug to deal with both pain and negative reactions to chemo and radiation treatment. It's a shame what these folks go through to get access to it.
    Big Government, treat this like alcohol; Tax it (you're very good at this), keep it away from minors (21+), and move on to more serious issues.

  • MenLR2
    October 18, 2012 at 12:41 p.m.

    Who is he again and why do we care what he thinks?

  • taunya
    October 18, 2012 at 12:43 p.m.

    There are some here who care about what Montel is talking about. I agree, totally, with ozarkbees. I could not have said anything better.

  • JIMBOB47
    October 18, 2012 at 1:06 p.m.

    I think they made a poor choice bringing in Montel. In case you've missed the current commercials he does - he is promoting PAY-DAY Lenders. " you, too can get $1,000, right now to help with your bills.." This sort of business we ran out of Arkansas for their predatory lending actions. I used to have a little respect for some of his activities, but since he does these type ads, he is certainly off my list of credible front people for anything.

  • arky12
    October 18, 2012 at 1:15 p.m.

    Dr. Oz is also in favor of legalizing it for medical purposes and did a whole show on this subject last year. People need to understand that marijuana is not as bad as we've been led to believe. It is a naturally growing plant that God put on this Earth for good reason. It all goes back to looking at hemp in this country, which was grown up through WWII, when it was promoted for the war effort to make rope, etc. Hemp is a very distant cousin of marijuana and many tend to think they are the same, which is what we've all been brainwashed to believe. In order to prevent hemp farming in the U.S., it was necessary to outlaw marijuana and then link the two together as the same. Our Constitution is written on hemp paper. We could save millions of trees cut down to use for paper if we grew hemp. We can make clothes and bio fuels, etc. out of it. It should be no mystery as to who and why they don't want marijuana legalized for any purpose, it would lead to growing hemp again in this country and the powers that be cannot allow that, so they perpetuate the myth about marijuana. Did you know that hemp seed is the perfect food? Look it up, I did.

  • ozarkbees
    October 18, 2012 at 1:26 p.m.

    I agree Jimbo. Pay-day companies and their ads are disgusting. However, I guess the man has to make a living somehow. I see a lot of folks on TV (I use to somewhat respect) promoting reverse mortgages, which can be helpful in the right situation, but many elderly people are duped into this sort of thing.

    All I can say is, as a forming manager at a credit card/banking company, you'd be surprised to what one would stoop to in order to feed their family. I can only image how many people lives I've ruined by promoting a high interest credit card that they didn't need. As for Montel, I'm not a huge fan either, but his agenda today was to promote something that is personal to him, and he seems to want to help others suffering like him. From that perspective, I have more respect from him now, and pray that he's able to find a better gig that pay-day lenders.

  • HawgFan
    October 18, 2012 at 1:53 p.m.

    Dude... arky is correct.

  • bendoverhereitcomesagain
    October 18, 2012 at 1:54 p.m.

    U r missing point bringing up his pay day lender crap..sure that stiff is junk.
    but we also know the crusade against marijuana is crap too..we could put oil companies in check once in for all..we can ease the pain of our suffering naturally..putting these drug companies back in check once and for all..put farmers back straight once and for all...the real war on marijuana started long ago with a racist agenda against the Asian culture during the gold rush in California...historical fact..white American men were afraid of Asian men luring White women into opium dens...thus they linked Marijuana with opium.
    it

  • jazzer7
    October 18, 2012 at 2:05 p.m.

    First, I'd like to point out that the proper name for the plant is CANNABIS. Please, stop using the word "marijuana", which is a Mexican slang term for this wonderful plant. Arky12's comment is correct. Cannabis is the most beneficial botanical on the planet. It could SAVE THE WORLD in so many ways I don't have space to explain in this forum. Food, Fiber, Medicine, Oil, Paper and Fuel, to name but a few uses for this God-given miracle plant. Cannabis has been demonized by Big Gov't who has been pressured and purchased by lobbyists for the Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Agra, Big Military, Big Prision Industrial Complex. I have much respect for Emily Williams and the others who have come forward with great risk to their freedoms and families to share their experience, strength and hope with medicinal cannabis. Cannabis tincture was the most widely used over-the-counter medication up until 1936. It was given to infants for toothache. For US Gov't to say it has no medicinal value is a lie. There are still 4 people who receive cannabis from a US Government program begun in 1978. It is still grown on a US Gov't owned farm in Oxford, MS. The program stopped accepting new patients in 1992. God Bless America and Thank You God for Cannabis.

  • DixiePig
    October 18, 2012 at 2:28 p.m.

    lol you libs afre funny......I have seen what happens in states that legalize....it is grown/sold/smoked EVERYWHERE by people with bogus Dr's scrips......having said that, glad it's on the ballot so we can vote and watch it (like Obama) go down in flames. 19 days. tick tick.

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