LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - With Election Day getting closer, many Arkansans are becoming more adamant about a key controversial issue in the state, medical marijuana.
Some are even taking a public stand on the matter, such as the Arkansas Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police Associations. They, along with other well-known groups, spoke out against the measure Friday morning. But at the same time, just a couple of blocks down the road at the capitol, Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Judge Jim Gray endorsed the legalization of medical marijuana.
In just more than two weeks, Arkansans will head to the polls to decide if medical marijuana should be legal in The Natural State. Before they cast their votes, some groups want to help persuade their decision. The Arkansas Sheriffs Association, state Chamber of Commerce and about 12 other state offices publicly opposed Issue Five Friday. Issue Five would legalize medical marijuana use in Arkansas.
ASA Spokesperson Sheriff Marty Moss of Cleburne County said legalizing the drug could harm children.
"There will be no penalties for parents who subject their infants and children to secondhand medical marijuana smoke," Moss said. "In custody situations, judges will have no way to limit visitation rights from marijuana registered parents who are growing or smoking marijuana in their homes."
Moss said if someone lives five miles from a dispensary, the proposal would allow them to grow it in their home, which would make regulating it difficult. But those who support the measure joined Judge Jim Gray at the capitol.
"This is a thing to serve, protect, the health of your people as well as the safety so it's time, it's beyond time," Gray said to convince Arkansans to vote in favor of Issue Five.
Some of the points that Gray drove home in support of it is that medical marijuana can bring relief to those in pain and he said it is a profitable crop.
"They are going to use this stuff one way of another," Gray said. "Let's regulate it and control it and allow the police and medical marijuana dispensaries and patients to understand what the regulations are."
Some of the illnesses covered under Issue Five for using medical marijuana include: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, tourette's disease, crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, post traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, agitation of alzheimer's disease.
Issue Five will be on the ballot for Arkansans to vote on November 6th.