A coalition of religious and conservative organizations filed a lawsuit attempting to stop a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana before it comes to a vote in November. The Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values, which filed the lawsuit in the state Supreme Court on Friday, includes Larry Page of the Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council, Jerry Cox of the Family Council Action Committee, Bill Wheeler and Alan Talburt of Families First Foundation, and Bob Hester of the Arkansas Family Coalition.
In August, medical marijuana legalization advocates turned in a petition with 74,000 signatures, well over the number required to get the issue on the ballot. Now, opponents of the initiative are calling it “bad law based on bad science” and “one hundred percent illegal.”
Medical marijuana has been legalized in 17 states and the District of Columbia, but Arkansas is the first Southern state to push the issue. Many medical groups have called for an easing of marijuana restrictions, which are currently hindering research into its therapeutic value. The American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians have called for a federal review of its classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug with no health benefits.