Breaking News:Dangerous Delays: What Washington State (Re)Teaches Us About Cash and Cannabis Store Robberies [REPORT]

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Push Sparks Reaction

An Arkansas group is already gathering signatures to place a medical marijuana initiative on the November 2012 ballot, and now the effort is sparking a critical reaction from a local Christian conservative "traditional family values" organization. But medical marijuana backers say they have God on their side, too.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care isn't going to cede the religious high ground to Christian conservatives. (image courtesy ACC)
Arkansans for Compassionate Care won approval in April to circulate petitions for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act. It needs to gather 62,507 valid voter signatures by next July to appear on the November 2012 ballot. The group said it plans to gather double the required number to provide a large cushion in case large numbers of signatures are found to be invalid.

The initiative would allow patients with serious illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, and PTSD whose doctors recommend medical marijuana to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Patients would obtain marijuana from one of up to 30 state-regulated dispensaries or, if they don't live near a dispensary, they or a designated caregiver could grow their own. Patients more than five miles from a dispensary could grow up to six plants.

"I've talked to dozens and dozens of patients across the state," the group's Ryan Denham told Fox 16 TV News Monday night. "People that suffer from debilitating medical conditions things like multiple sclerosis, cancer, hepatitis c, and the patients are really kind of just fed up with the fact that they have to break the law to get the medicine their doctor recommends," he said.

"There are no southern states that have legalized medical marijuana, so I think it would send definitely an important message nationally to the Congress that our system is broken and patients need access to medical marijuana. And just to be clear, we're not trying to decriminalize marijuana or to provide it recreationally, this is only for people that are sick or have terminally ill conditions," Denham clarified.

That's not good enough for the Little Rock-based Family Council Action Committee (FCAC), which issued a statement Tuesday expressing concern about the measure. The group describes itself as "standing up for traditional family values in the political arena" and references scripture as a guide. It is best known for sponsoring a failed 2008 initiative effort that would have barred gays from adopting children.

"Substance abuse creates very real problems for families," said FCAC President Jerry Cox in the statement. "If a husband or wife is addicted to something, it's going to put a strain on that marriage. It's going to put a strain on their kids. If you think we have problems with marijuana now, just wait until it becomes legally available," he warned.

"This law would make Arkansas one of the most liberal states in the nation, where marijuana is concerned," Cox continued. "And there are too many unanswered questions. How are we going to be sure medical marijuana grown in Arkansas isn't sold illegally across state lines? I've read marijuana can be cultivated with varying levels of active ingredients in it much the same way nicotine levels can be manipulated in tobacco. How are they going to keep marijuana growers from using that to make their product more potent or addictive?"

But if Cox thinks medical marijuana is the devil's weed, Arkansans for Compassionate Care is prepared to fight back. Its web site contains a Resources for the Faith Community page that begins with an exhortation from God to Zechariah to "Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another." The page then lists eight major religious denominations that support medical marijuana and their reasons for doing so.

United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!


What's so Funny or ironic about all this is that Christian groups are looking at the issue all wrong and need to be educated. Christians and I am one too, need to realize just because a Dr. prescribes something doesn't mean it's good for you. They totally ignore all the side effects of pharmaceuticals when marijuana hasn't killed anyone. If Christians would do a little research as they should they would find we have been lied to by Big Government and Big Business. Marijuana should be used as a medicine for serious and minor illnesses. This should be left to a Dr. and patient to decide; not the Government! Further more if you believe the bible, you cannot disregard Gods reference to marijuana as an herb in Geniuses where he say's that he gives us every seed bear ring herb for meat along with many other uses of the herb in healing and for clothing.

What would Jesus do?

What would Jesus do? Certainly not continue to permit suffering.

What would Jesus do?

What would Jesus do? Certainly not continue to permit suffering.

Jesus wants people healed,

Jesus wants people healed, religious nuts want them caged up. Where did everything go wrong???

Sill Christians they also

Sill Christians they also dont se the contradictions They say evil weed but what does their bibles GENESIS 1:12 say..............

Silly christians dont they

Silly christians dont they see the contradictions what does their bibles GENESIS 1:12 say....?

Marijuana and the Bible

Google Marijuana and the Bible.

Marijuana has been used for thousands of years for spiritual use.

Right Reverend Gregory Karl Davis's picture

balm of Gilead


In Jeremiah, For the breaking of the daughter of My people am I broken; I am blackened; desolation has held me firmly. Is there no balsamic resin [dronabinal (USAN)] in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why has not the healing of the daughter of my people arisen? viii. 21, 22. In the same prophet, Go up to Gilead to take resin [dronabinal (USAN)], O virgin daughter of Egypt! In vain you have multiplied medicaments; there is no healing for you. The nations have heard of thy disgrace, and thy clamor has filled the land; for the mighty man has stumbled against the mighty, and they are fallen both together. xlvi. 11, 12. In the same prophet, Suddenly Babel has fallen and been broken; wail over her! Take resin [dronabinal (USAN)] for her pain; perhaps she will be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed; forsake her, and let us go every one into his own land: for her judgment reaches unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the higher clouds. Jehovah has brought forth our justice; come, and let us recount in Zion the work of Jehovah our God. li. 8-10.

Response to the Family Council Action Committee

Thank you for picking up on our campaign!  We couldn't accomplish our goal without having a wide breadth of exposure.  I'm submitting a commentary on Mr. Cox's effort.  I wont address some of his misguided ideas about marijuana and the use of marijuana.  Rather, I'm submitting a response that touches on the broader scope of our campaign. 

Thanks again!

Carlos Ochoa

Fayetteville Field Director


Response to the Family Council Action Committee

Most people in Arkansas agree with a common sense, educated and compassionate policy of regulating marijuana as medicine.  Anyone who has been affected by illness knows of the importance of safe access to the most effective medication available.  Sometimes the most effective treatment is conventional, legal medications.  Sometimes the most effective medicine is a natural plant such as marijuana.  However, medical professionals should have the last say in managing treatment options.

Politicians and the Family Council Action Committee (FCAC) are interfering with medical treatment options for patients.  Marijuana is not for everybody but it can help some people with serious debilitating diseases and medical conditions.  Lawmakers and the FCAC, take a didactic path when speaking out against marijuana.  Their prejudice towards a natural plant interferes with the discussion between an American citizen and their doctor.  The threat of prosecution or demoralization prevents patients, who might benefit by using marijuana, from having an honest dialogue with their primary or special care physician.  People in Arkansas want their medical recommendations made in the doctor’s office and not from the pulpit.

Many researchers and patients agree that medical marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for many diseases and related ailments.  These include pain relief, particularly of neuropathic pain, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, AIDS, wasting syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or Alzheimer’s disease.  According to a recent article published in "Journal of Medical Molecular Biology" researchers state, "Prohibition is making [marijuana] research much more difficult to pursue.  Reforming medical marijuana legislation will allow doctors, researchers, and patients to make better decisions concerning health. "(1)  We know that marijuana can treat certain ailments today.  Why not let doctors and patients make that decision for themselves?  The FCAC and the Arkansas government should not dispute modern medical literature or dictate the conversation inside our doctor's office.

We agree with the FCAC and their representative Mr. Cox that marijuana can be used as medicine.  However, we must reject his assumption that marijuana must be smoked to benefit from its therapeutic effects.  Researchers now know that marijuana can be “juiced” then drank or turned into a topical lotion.  Some patients also prefer to orally consume the plant.  Administration of marijuana in these ways produce zero to low psychoactive effects but maintains the plan's therapeutic qualities.  Some patients prefer to smoke marijuana because the relief they seek might be worth the side-effects of inhaling combustible plant matter. Inevitably, it is up to the doctor and their patient to decide which medical treatment suits them best.

Passing medical marijuana laws will bring relief to thousands of Arkansans.  Patients  contact us almost daily about their hardships with illness and how they only seek relief.  Many patients who contact us have never tried marijuana but they would be willing to discuss the option with their doctor if the treatment provided relief.  Families of terminally ill patients also contact us in support because they know first hand the devastation of illness.  There are, of course, some patients who have contacted us with stories of how marijuana saved their lives when they battled medical conditions such as cancer.  They tell us they are too afraid of criminal prosecution, although they know the plant works for them and they are otherwise law abiding citizens.  Many will not use marijuana and while others will continue to do so only to become criminals and amoral in the eyes of the state and the FCAC.  Providing safe access to effective medicine with a doctor's recommendation is the compassionate action to take.  

Our law will make Arkansas the most conservative medical marijuana state in the nation.  Our proposed law has 25 pages of regulatory mandates that will protect patients, doctors, families and society.  Doctors will be allowed to recommend medical marijuana for serious debilitating and terminal illness.  Our law will be conservative as well as compassionate.

Nearly 1 in 3 states in America have medical marijuana laws, including Washington, D.C.  People in 16 other states have said, “We need compassionate care and we need it today.”  If this issue is not addressed in 2012, the people of Arkansas will face it again and again.  Arkansans for Compassionate Care is offering a common sense, educated and compassionate policy for medical marijuana.  

To learn more about our campaign, please visit the following link:

(1) Endocannabinoids and the Regulation of Their Levels in Health and Disease.  Journal of Genetics and Molecular Biology.  April 2007 18(2):129-140.

Working for the Cause

How do I get on board as a volunteer to help reform these archaic, gang-supporting laws? I've finally found a stste that is for reform and near enough where I live that I can actively participate in providing relief for millions of people. I want to get out there and try to make a difference! 

Cannabis & Crohn's Disease---WWJD?

I was arrested on September 2nd, 2010, for growing 25 Medicinal Cannabis Plants for my own use as a treatment for the debilitating symptoms of Crohn's Disease, and chronic abdominal pain from adhesions caused by the surgeries(small bowel resections) that saved my life. I was NOT permitted to tell the jury WHY I was growing this Cannabis because the Prosecutor convinced the Judge to disallow that information until AFTER I had been found guilty of a felony...after THAT point, during the "sentencing phase" of the trial, I was finally allowed to explain to the Jury exactly what Crohn's Disease IS, and how much Cannabis seems almost specifically created to treat it! ---And once the Jury discovered this, they decided not to send me to prison, but I did receive a stiff ($7,900.00) fine, which I now must pay $100.000 a month until it is paid in full. I know that had the Jury been allowed to hear of my medicinal need for Cannabis, that they would have---in all certainty---acquitted me of this, "crime"! But that is NOT how it works... At the pre-trial hearing, when the Judge informed me that he'd sustain the prosecutor's objection to any medical information about me being entered into evidence, I was told that if I knew what was "good for me", I would simply accept the Prosecutor's "kind offer" to only give me seven months in a, "Regional Punishment Facility"  (R.P.F.)...despite my chronic illness!---Otherwise, I'd be facing the full 4 to 10 years in prison and/or up to a $10.000.00 dollar fine---(For a first offense "Manufacturing" charge) But I decided to have a Jury trial ANYWAY, because I REFUSED to just bend over to this legalized form of extortion! (like most of the defendants do, most of the time, I found out) But I HAD to fight for what I KNOW to be RIGHT, so I did, and it's a damned good thing I did, it turned out---despite being "hobbled" by the Judge and Prosecutor. During Jury selection, we almost didn't have enough people to choose from, because they almost ALL believed that there should be no laws against cannabis anyway---so the Judge had to recuse them!...The fact that this Arkansas Jury let me go without serving even one day in a cage, should tell everyone in this State, that most of the people in Arkansas believe, and KNOW, that these laws on the books now, are just plain wrong, and that NO punishment should be meted out for medicinal cannabis users and growers. And I am quite certain what Jesus would do, in a case like mine---He'd say, "Paul, you can grow and use any plant God has created, if it alleviates your suffering...because My Father loves you, and wants you to feel better, and so do I..."    AMEN! 

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School