It was officially revealed last week that two competing medical marijuana initiatives would appear on the Arkansas ballot this November -- a ridiculous feud that could confuse the voters and ultimately sabotage legalization altogether in 2016. However, before the battle over which ballot measure shall rein victorious can ensue, later this fall, one of the two organizations must first contend with lawsuit filed by one of their own.
On Friday, Little Rock attorney Kara Benca, who claims to be a lifetime member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), petitioned the Arkansas Supreme Court in hopes of disqualify a ballot measure sponsored by Arkansas For Compassionate Care over questionable practices during its signature collecting campaign.
The complaint suggests that thousands of signatures responsible for pushing the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (AMCA) onward to the November ballot should be null and void because supporters behind the campaign did not follow the rules established for the petition phase.
Among the allegations detailed in the suit is a failure to adhere to reporting requirements for paid canvassers and non-supervised signature drives.
Although no one is sure if this lawsuit will present any real trouble for this particular initiative, its campaign director, Melissa Fults, told the Associated Press that she feels confident the lawsuit would be tossed out of court because her organization has all of the documentation to support the actions behind its campaign.
“We should be running a campaign to get this passed for sick and dying patients and instead we have to deal with bogus lawsuits,” Fults told reporters.
Interestingly, Little Rock attorney David Couch, the primary entity behind the state’s competing medical marijuana initiative – Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment – reportedly presented Benca with some of the information needed to support her case.
Couch told the Associated Press that if Arkansans For Compassionate Care “violated the rules they should be taken off” the ballot.
The lawsuits against Arkansas For Compassionate Care are starting to pile up.
Last month, the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Farm Bureau got together on a lawsuit against the initiative, citing concerns that its language would confuse the voting public. And while it is not surprising to see a clan of prohibitionists challenge a pro-marijuana reform group, the latest Supreme Court case is somewhat baffling considering there is a supposed marijuana advocate behind it.