Financial Side of Medical Marijuana on Ballot In Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Should marijuana use for medical purposes be legalized in Arkansas? It is a highly controversial question voters will answer in this year’s election and with so much conversation surrounding the topic, we wanted to know who was financially supporting or fighting the issue. Thousands of dollars has been spent to put the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act on the ballot and now with a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas to remove the act, thousands more will be spent to fight it. It’s an issue that is getting individuals and national organizations to open their checkbooks. “It’s been a full on campaign for a little over a year now,” says Chris Kell, spokesperson for Arkansans for Compassionate Care. It is a non-profit campaign instrumental in putting the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act on the ballot. “We’ve raised a lot of money from Arkansans from very generous support financially from Marijuana Policy Project,” says Kell. The Marijuana Policy Project is a national non-profit agency that works to reform marijuana laws. So far, they’ve spent more than $250,000 to get medical marijuana legalized in Arkansas.

“We are entirely a member supported organization. We have over 50,000 dues paying members and basically when we go into these campaigns, we like to focus on whatever we can do to get the issue in front of the voters. In this case, paying for petition gatherers and public education,” says Morgan Fox with MPP. “Our funding comes from individuals and churches right here in Arkansas and that’s what I would expect to be the case with this campaign as well,” says Jerry Cox, Director of the Family Council Action Committee. It is a group formed by four Arkansas non-profit agencies (Family’s First, The Arkansas Family Coalition, The Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council and Family Council) fighting to remove the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act from the ballot. They recently filed a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas saying the ballot title did not adequately explain the measure. Cox says fundraising has just begun and only a few thousand dollars is being used to fight the measure right now but he expects that number to change.

“I would expect our funding to come from right here in Arkansas and it should because the people here in Arkansas are the ones most affected if this measure passes,” says Cox. It is a measure Kell says will help thousands of sick Arkansans receive the compassionate care they need. “This law is actually 8,000 words long for that very reason, so that this is not a gateway to recreational drugs. This is truly about compassionate care and people that could really benefit from this medicinal marijuana,” says Kell. The Family Council Action Committee say although they expect most of their funds to be raised in Arkansas, they wouldn’t be opposed to accepting to national donations from reputable organizations. As for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, all of their campaign finance reports are public information and can be viewed through the Arkansas State Ethics Commission.

via : Ozark First

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