An Arkansas lawmaker wants to prevent the state’s new medical marijuana program from coming to life until after the federal government decides to make it legal nationwide.
Senator Jason Rapert will submit legislation in the coming days aimed at preventing the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA) from being implemented as long as Uncle Sam considers the cultivation and sale of cannabis a violation of the Controlled Substances Act.
“Under the 1970 federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana usage, distribution, possession, is illegal under United States federal law, and that has not changed,” Rapert told THV 11. “There are people serving in prison right now for the same activities that, apparently, Arkansas thinks it can proceed with. We are a nation of laws and a state of laws. You must change the law to remove an irreconcilable difference that we have between state and federal law on this particular issue.”
The overall goal of this sabotage tactic is to place an indefinite hiatus on the state's medical marijuana program until federal and state cannabis laws are the same.
If Rapert can somehow manage to attract enough support for the measure this year in the House and Senate, which seems possible, it could be awhile before medical marijuana sees the light of day. The bill would surely be signed into law if it reaches the desk of Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Last year, Hutchinson, who has opposed the AMMA since its inception, told reporters that he did not feel it is was in the interest of the state to legalize cannabis medicine without federal safeguards.
“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.”
The AMMA, which was introduced by Little Rock attorney David Couch, was approved by 54 percent of the voters in the November election.
Couch credits blinding ignorance for the latest attempt to stop legalization.
“Lawmakers need to educate themselves more on medical marijuana,” Couch said. “Senator Rapert and some of the others think that medical marijuana is like watching a Cheech and Chong movie. It’s not like that anymore.”