Today's Paper Search Latest Coronavirus Families Core values App Listen Story ideas iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive
story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, speaks during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite )

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday said ballot initiatives seeking to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas do not lead to good medical practice and are not in the best interest of patients.

The two proposed ballot measures — the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment and Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act — are set to be considered by voters during the Nov. 8 election. An anti-medical marijuana coalition has filed lawsuits against both.

“We all want those who are ill or suffering to have the right kind of medicine, but there is a reason we have an [Food and Drug Administration] approval process for new medicines,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “We don’t vote on cancer cures, and we should not set a new pattern for determining what is good medicine at the ballot box.”

At the state Capitol on Monday, Hutchinson was joined by Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe, Arkansas Department of Health Director Dr. Nate Smith and other members of the medical community, who all denounced the medical marijuana proposals.

“Those who stand with me today are in the medical profession because they care and they want the best for their patients,” Hutchinson said. “If there is new medicine or a new product to alleviate suffering, they want it available.”

Arkansas' governor previously said the legalization of medical marijuana would also be a "tax drain" for the state, referencing enforcement and regulatory issues, The Associated Press reported.

Bledsoe said the initiatives would "open the floodgates for marijuana use in our communities," adding that the proposals would allow the sale of edible marijuana products, including those "with cartoon marketing attractive to children."

Read Tuesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


Sponsor Content

Archived Comments

  • tomdougherty
    September 12, 2016 at 2:38 p.m.

    I got news for Bledsoe-those gates have been open since the 1960's.

  • SouthCounty
    September 12, 2016 at 4:40 p.m.

    The pharmacy companies are rattling the cage, true paid for democracy. That pot, is not gonna help you, let us prescribe more opiates, that's real medicine...

  • JulieM69
    September 12, 2016 at 5:26 p.m.

    Of course Asa doesn't want legalized marijuana, some of his DEA buds in Washington might not be needed any longer. He and all the other bureaucrats fear anything that might in any way threaten their jobs. I've got news for him, we DO NOT want the federal government involved in our lives any more than they already are. And, the FDA is in the back pockets of big pharma so, until they could figure out how they can horn in on this deal, they would never approve medical marijuana. And how, exactly, is this going to cost Arkansas tax money? Look at the other states that have legalized it. The tax dollars are rolling in. The supporters of these initiatives can match Asa's medical backers doctor for doctor. This is just the same old stupid arguments we have heard our whole lives. You know, smoke pot one day, mainline the next. If any of these people had bothered to actually read the proposed act, they would know there are all kinds of safeguards built in. But, I doubt they have. The Dept. of Health doesn't want to have to do this extra work but then, bureaucrats never want to work much. Its time we move into this century and allow patients to get the help they need and Arkansas to reap the tax benefits.

  • JoeHartwig
    September 12, 2016 at 6:11 p.m.

    Are they Republikans??? Yes!!! Are they bureaucrats??? Yes!!! Are Drs going out to those $500 lunches with Big Pharma??? (The kind that not only cost $500, but where they give the Dr. $500 in show up pay) Why yes, yes they are!!!

  • bfe71730
    September 12, 2016 at 7:12 p.m.

    Hey a$$clown, why don't you let the patients (people) decide what's in their best interests.

  • NoUserName
    September 12, 2016 at 8:01 p.m.

    The rhetoric is getting old. There won't be FDA approval because the government has stifled research into pot for years. Nor is a drug company going to spend billions on a drug that people can grow on their own. While I would agree that circumventing approvals is in general a bad idea. That isn't going to work when the government has a stake in seeing pot illegal (war on drugs...). People are finally seeing through the BS which is why pot is becoming legal throughout the country. As for Bledsoe, this would allow doctors to prescribe under practice of medicine. I wonder why he is against his fellow doctors having the option to decide for themselves and prescribe marijuana.

  • ConcernedArkansan
    September 13, 2016 at 2:21 p.m.

    Big Pharmacy is obviously throwing $ in Asa's pocket... Natural State pshhh. More like the Slow State...

  • BenDover
    September 16, 2016 at 7:04 a.m.

    Then riddle me this: WHY does the Federal Gubernmint have a PATENT on certain CBD's contained in Cannabis? US6630507 B1
    You'll have to Google it. No links allowed here.

    It seems to me that if you criminalize a plant that you have a patent on, the law is null and void.

  • TimberTopper
    September 16, 2016 at 8:14 a.m.

    The Republicans are saying, you low lifes will lead the life we want you to lead or else, you will be doing something that is not legal.