PHOENIX - Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona have seized a
nearly 100-pound bundle of marijuana after spotting it flying over the
Surveillance video on Wednesday captured the large package launching
through the air over the fence from Mexico to the U.S. Agents on the
ground found a large, plastic-wrapped bundle worth about $48,000.
Spokeswoman Stephanie Dixon said drug smugglers are increasingly
launching massive bundles of pot over the border fence, posing a
danger to nearby residents and businesses because of their weight. She
said she knew of one incident in which a bundle went through the roof
of a dog house.
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Demand for permission to use, grow and sell
medical marijuana in Arkansas is low as the state reaches the halfway
point for the application period.
Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott
Hardin told The Associated Press Friday morning that the agency had
received no applications to grow and distribute medical marijuana.
"We are not concerned, as we understand the applications require
detailed and specific information that will take time to complete,"
Hardin said earlier in the week. "Applicants are likely performing
their due diligence to provide quality applications."
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With all of the political rhetoric in the spotlight during this
election season, it is sometimes difficult to realize how blessed we
are to be Arkansans and how important our choices are - not only in
our selection of individuals we will choose to lead and represent us,
but also in determining the ballot initiatives we choose to oppose or
On Nov. 8, when you go vote, there will be issues on your ballot that
change our Constitution or modify our laws. One of those, Issue 6,
relates to legalizing marijuana. Issue 6 is being advertised and
marketed to you as marijuana for medical use; however, this is a big
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THERE was an interesting story in the paper Sunday; actually several,
as is the norm. (A salute to the desks that put together that biggest
paper of the week.) This article, however, had to do with pot on the
You've surely heard that Arkansas voters will see a couple of ballot
questions having to do with medical marijuana next week. One of them
might even have its votes counted. (The Supreme Court has ruled
against the other, but your ballots have already been printed.)
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LITTLE ROCK (AP) - The Arkansas Supreme Court was asked Friday to
disqualify an effort to legalize medical marijuana over potentially
invalid signatures, the second challenge filed against a ballot
measure to make the drug available to some patients.
Attorney Kara Benca of Little Rock questioned the validity of
thousands of signatures that were submitted for the proposal allowing
patients with certain medical conditions to buy marijuana. The
measure is among two medical marijuana proposals on the November ballot.
Benca, who didn't immediately return a message late Friday afternoon,
claimed more than 15,000 signatures that were submitted for the
proposal should be tossed out. Benca identifies herself in the
lawsuit as a life-member of the National Organization for the Reform
of Marijuana Laws, which supports legalizing the drug.
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Democrats Add Plank for 2016
The backers of two competing medical marijuana initiatives found good
news in their cause ending up on the platform of the Democratic Party
Members of the party met Saturday to hear speeches and take care of
business ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, including approving a
platform. One of the planks is on medical marijuana.
The plank calls for "the development of a responsible medical
marijuana program that will receive patients in need of such relief
the freedom to access this remedy."
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Regulation Would Be a 'Tax Drain' On State, He Tells Counties
HOT SPRINGS (AP) - Legalizing medical marijuana would be a drain on
the state's resources, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday as
legalization supporters asked the state's highest court to dismiss an
attempt to block their proposal this fall.
The governor also expressed opposition to a casino ballot measure
while speaking to the Association of Arkansas Counties.
Hutchinson, the former head of the federal Drug Enforcement
Administration, said he was concerned about the costs of regulation
and enforcement if voters approve legalizing marijuana for some patients.
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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told the Association of Arkansas
Counties' 48th Annual Conference Thursday that he will oppose two
proposals on the November general election ballot that would legalize
medical marijuana in the state.
"I will be opposing the two marijuana initiatives," Hutchinson told
the conference, which was held at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
"You can imagine the enforcement issues and the regulatory issues
that are involved with this. I do not see any tax benefits for the
state. I see more of a tax drain for the state."
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Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana filed suit Wednesday to stop
the state from counting votes cast in November for a proposed
initiated act that would legalize the drug for medical purposes.
The complaint, filed with the Arkansas Supreme Court, alleges
problems with the ballot title of the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act.
"It contains misleading statements, omits material information that
is essential for a fair understanding of the Act, and is tinged with
partisan coloring," the complaint reads in part.
According to the complaint, the ballot title "falsely tells voters
that the Act limits the use of marijuana"; "gives the false
impression that all marijuana will be tested for quality, safety, and
potency"; and "fails to tell the voters that the Act permits
'cannabis care centers' to sell food and drink that contains
marijuana," among other issues.
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Voters May Face Two Pot-Related Measures in November
Arkansas voters may yet see dueling ballot proposals to allow medical
marijuana in this state. Last week, backers of a second pot-related
ballot question, a proposed constitutional amendment, submitted what
they say is more than enough signatures to get the issue on the Nov.
8 general election ballot.
Secretary of State Mark Martin's office is reviewing the signatures
now to determine whether there are enough valid signatures to meet
the required threshold.
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A new group has formed to coordinate attacks on the proposed Arkansas
Medical Cannabis Act and Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment.
State Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe is serving as spokesman for the
group, Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana.
Members include: the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas
Farm Bureau Federation, the Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities,
the Family Council Action Committee and the Arkansas Committee for
"Well, it's a very diverse coalition," Bledsoe said in an interview
Tuesday. "We decided to put together all of our collective thinking
on this because we're unified on the fact that we think the medical
marijuana issues would be bad for the state."
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While spending endless hours in a waiting room at UAMS I've now read
multiple anti-medical marijuana editorials printed in the course of a
couple of weeks. It must be nice to have your own bully pulpit.
Please excuse my tardiness in responding. I volunteer as a cancer
patient advocate and I've been kind of busy.
You seem to be under the impression that cannabis is only used for
nausea. You mention the synthetic cannabis anti-nausea drug, Marinol,
that makes money for a big drug company. I've worked with cancer
patients who take it by the handful with no effect in stopping
nausea. Smoking real cannabis does. It also stimulates their
appetite, improves mental attitude and relieves pain better than
constipation-causing addictive opiates. Cannabis contains a
component, CBD (cannibidiol), that's been shown effective for the
treatment of childhood epileptic seizure syndromes. An CBD/THC oral
spray drug called Sativex is currently on fast-track status with the
FDA for the treatment of multiple sclerosis tremors. CBD also shows
efficacy against colon cancer. Sativex might also prove effective
against my patient's colon cancer, but until medical cannabis is
legalized, research is stymied.
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The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has just issued a helpful
reminder to all Americans. In denying a petition to loosen
restrictions on marijuana, the agency repeated that the drug has "no
currently accepted medical use" in the United States.
This may come as a surprise, given that some states already allow
doctors to prescribe marijuana to treat maladies from PTSD to
Alzheimer's disease. Yet the truth is, research has yet to find firm
evidence that marijuana can alleviate physical suffering.
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When children steal cookies from the cookie jar, they usually suffer
little more than a scolding. When those cookies contain cannabis,
it's a different story: According to a study published last week,
exposure to marijuana among children in Colorado has increased in the
two years since the state began selling the drug legally- and so have
the emergency-room visits that follow.
Colorado gave the green light to medical marijuana in 2000. In 2012,
the state sanctioned recreational use, and by January 2014,
dispensary store shelves were stocked with potent products of all
shapes and sizes. Since then, marijuana-related trips to children's
care centers have almost doubled, though incidence overall remains
low. Edibles in particular seem to entice unsuspecting children who
think they are sneaking everyday snacks, though secondhand smoke is
also a culprit. After accidental marijuana consumption, most children
simply become sleepy. In the worst of cases, they can end up with a
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has
rejected a proposed constitutional amendment for the 2018 ballot that
would legalize marijuana in the state.
The proposal by Mary Berry, of Summit, would allow for the
cultivation, production, distribution, sale, possession and use of
the cannabis plant and all products taken from the plant, including marijuana.
Rutledge wrote in an opinion released Monday that the proposal is
being rejected because of ambiguities in the text.
If passed, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act would be one of the most
permissive medical marijuana measures in the country, Henny Lasley, a
founding member of Smart Colorado, said Friday.
Lasley was the headline speaker at a meeting of the Coalition for
Safer Arkansas Communities held at the Arkansas State Chamber of
Commerce in Little Rock. The meeting attracted about 35 people, among
them law enforcement officers, lawmakers and employees of treatment
centers. The coalition says on its website that is an organization of
parents, teachers, medical professionals, law enforcement officials,
business owners and community leaders.
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For the Sake of Your Health
AT LEAST a couple of proposals legalizing "medical" marijuana are now
angling for a place on November's ballot. Which means the state's
Health Department may be called on to issue many a clarification
between now and then. The first one came out last week. To quote
Nathaniel Smith, M.D., and director of the department: "There was a
statement by one of the proponents of medical marijuana that she had
spoken to the Department of Health and that we were gearing up,
expecting this ballot initiative to pass. That's not correct."
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FOLKS at the Health Department in this state were very careful about
their words. As always. No need to make the controversial even more
The department was not to those pushing "medical" marijuana on the
November ballots. The department was clarifying its position. Call
the brass at the Health Department what you will, but don't call them
It seems that somebody pushing, and we mean pushing, dope- as-
medicine had said something on one of the radio stations in central
Arkansas, something about perhaps the department gearing up in case
one of the medical marijuana proposals passes this fall. The director
of the department, Nathaniel Smith, told the papers that is not the case.
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The Arkansas Department of Health said Tuesday it will not support
ballot measures intended to legalize medical marijuana in the state,
saying in a statement that the drug is not approved by the Federal
The news came after Melissa Fults, campaign manager for Arkansans for
Compassionate Care, appeared on the Dave Elswick Show on radio
station KHTE-FM, 96.5.
"There was a statement by one of the proponents of medical marijuana
that she had spoken to the Department of Health and that we were
gearing up, expecting this ballot initiative to pass," said Nathaniel
Smith, director of the Department of Health, in an interview. "That's
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See Through All the Smoke
NOT JUST one but a couple of competing proposals to legalize
"medical" marijuana in Arkansas may appear on November's already
crowded ballot. There's both an initiated act and a constitutional
amendment in the works. The campaign manager for the first has been
pressing the sponsor of the second to withdraw his. If both appear on
the ballot, says Melissa Fults, both will fail. But its sponsor,
David Couch, says nothing doing. Happily, there's enough opposition
to both bad ideas to indicate they're both in trouble. Arkansas
doesn't need either one, let alone both.
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