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With elections approaching this fall, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a rise in the number of states with petitions going around in hopes of legalizing marijuana in one form or another. For a number of states, this attempt is to legalize recreational use – but for just as many,if not more, the attempt is still to implement a medical marijuana program.

With 23 states already having legalized medical marijuana, only a couple more on that list would make it official – half of the country would then have a medical marijuana program. This is likely to be the year that happens with so many campaigns gathering momentum as Election Day draws closer. Arkansas is one of the states that is still trying to get medical marijuana legalized.

A group called Arkansans for Compassionate Care have officially gathered the minimum number of petition signatures needed in order to be put on the 2016 ballots. With 68,000 signatures gathered the group still plans to continue gathering signatures in the event that some of the signatures are not of registered voters.

They are expecting to have at least 75-85,000 signatures by the June deadline – though the number may even exceed that with the momentum the campaign has gained in recent months.

“I have a feeling that we’re going to end up with more than that,”Yell said. “Now that interest has generated toward the end of the campaign.”

A second group is also likely to start gathering signatures soon, though only time will tell if they will have enough signatures in time for the deadline for this year’s election.

Unfortunately, you cannot have a group of people trying to do something good for the community without people who are going to oppose it. In the case of medical marijuana, the same argument is seen over and over again – and in some cases the voices posing the argument are in a place of authority and that can kill a campaign like this.

“It’s just a backdoor way for people to smoke as much as they want, people that are otherwise healthy,” he said. “It has nothing, really to do with sick people,” Cox (Executive Director of Family Council Action Committee) said of both initiatives.

It’s these kinds of statements that prevent medical marijuana programs from being approved for those who actually need it. There are so many conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana – and everyone should have access to safe and effective medicine. Unfortunately, too many people believe medical marijuana is only a front for people to get high – when really these laws are to allow access to a safe alternative means of treatment for a number of conditions.

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