It is very difficult for a commoner to imagine how drugs like Marijuana can, in fact, be useful to human body for curing a disease! Well, in a recent decision of Supreme Court of Arkansas one such issue was the main cause of unrest among the Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values. In a case decided by this Court on September 27, 2012 was filed by Jerry Cox, Larry Page, Bill Wheeler, and Dr. William H. Benton, for themselves and on Behalf of Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values (“CPAV”). (The case can be accessed at: http://opinions.aoc.arkansas.gov/WebLink8/0/doc/308745/Electronic.aspx)
This case was brought about questioning the legal sufficiency of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act (accessible at: http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections/Documents/2012%20Proposed%20Initiatives%20and%20Referenda/Marijuana%20Proposal%20Text%20for%20web.pdf). The contention is that if the Act passes through the ballot, as promised, then it will be in contradiction to the state and federal constitutions and other laws.
As per the existing Arkansas Marijuana Laws, the possession of marijuana is a penal offence.
- The penalty for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana- A misdemeanor. Punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. (Probation may or may not be granted by the court)
- The presumption in such cases is that any possession greater than one ounce is“possession for sale”.
- Penalty for possession of amounts greater than one ounce- Punishment is 4 - 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
- Penalty for ten pounds or more- Punishment can range from 5 - 20 years in prison and a fine of $15,000 - $50,000.
- Penalty for any amounts of 100 pounds or more - Punishment is 6 -10 years in prison and a fine of $15,000 - $100,000.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, on the other hand, authorizes the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Christopher Kell, the spokesman of Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said "It just goes to show that if you respect the system, and follow the rules, things will come out in your favor".
The Secretary of State notified ACC that this ballot title met the necessary signature requirements as provided in article 5, section 1 and hence it is to be placed on the November 6, 2012 ballot.
Justice Karen Baker on behalf of the court held that, “we conclude that the title informs the voters in an intelligible, honest, and impartial manner of the substantive matter of the Act. The ballot title is not unduly long, nor is it complex or misleading. Therefore, we hold the ballot title here is not legally insufficient based on its length.”