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The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment passed Tuesday night, making the use of medical marijuana legal for some Arkansans.

The race was called at 11:30 p.m. As of that time, there were 509,057 votes tallied for and 458,116 against.

Under the amendment, the Arkansas Department of Health will issue registration cards to qualifying patients while the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division will oversee the dispensaries and growing facilities. After approval from their doctors, patients will be able to obtain up to 2.5 ounces of the drug from a dispensary every two weeks.

Glaucoma, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s disease are some of the “qualified medical conditions” listed in the amendment. Patients with a pain-causing sicknesses that haven’t responded to treatment for more than six months are also eligible.

With the amendment, the health department can approve medical-marijuana treatment for other illnesses. Issue 6 will also allow the government to issue 20 to 40 medical-marijuana dispensary licenses and four to eight cultivation facility licenses.

The Arkansas Supreme Court removed the other medical-marijuana measure from the ballot, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, on Oct. 27, saying the proposal didn’t obtain the required number of valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. It contained a “grow your own” provision that’s absent within the amendment.

Four years ago, Arkansas voters rejected legalizing medical marijuana. This election, the campaign backed by the Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana overcame opposition that included Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the majority of the state Legislature.

Jerry Cox, the president of the Family Council and a vocal opponent of Issue 6, said Tuesday night that the fight will continue in the Arkansas General Assembly.

"This fight is not over," he said in a news release.

He said in the release that legislation could prevent "marijuana advertising" and "define what it means to be impaired."

Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Gregory Bledsoe, another opponent of the measure, said Tuesday night that he was "obviously" disappointed the amendment passed. He said he was told medical-marijuana proponents out-raised the opposition by a little over $1 million.

"It would've been a shock if it hadn't passed," he said, adding that he was surprised how close the margin was.

Bledsoe said he would have to sit down with lawmakers and health department officials beginning Wednesday to start planning a responsible implementation of the amendment.

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

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Archived Comments

  • JMort69
    November 9, 2016 at 1:23 p.m.

    Who does this Cox guy think he is? This is typical of the radical religious right. Nothing will stop them from imposing their religious beliefs and morals on all of us, even if we the people have proven that we do not accept them. If Mr. Cox and the legislators they own want to live in a theocracy, they should go to the Mideast. They have lots of them there and look how well that has worked for people. This is America and we get to believe what we want and we abide by the will of the majority, and the majority has spoken. I am very heartened that we did not allow these radicals to dictate this matter to us. I hope that our elected officials take note and refuse to file any more frivolous lawsuits put forth by Mr. Cox and his organization. We have spent millions on behalf of them and I don't want any more of my tax money spent supporting their positions, none of which I agree with. With the big bucks behind Issue 6, and the apparent backers being some very influential Arkansans, we will see how far Cox gets with his fight. I will also be interested in seeing whether the legislators and our governor are willing to buck the people whose money helps them get elected. One thing I know, the people will be watching their reactions to our vote and our memories are long.

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