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Arkansas Will Vote on Legalizing Medical Marijuana With Issue 6

Issue 6 would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for patients with diseases like cancer and Crohn's disease.
Jerry Cox, president of Family Council, speaks in Little Rock, Ark., against a proposed ballot measure that would have allowed marijuana use for medical reasons in Arkansas. Image: Danny Johnston/AP

It is a dark time in Arkansas for medical marijuana, with no serving politicians in support of the current legislation scheduled for vote on election day. On the bright side, the same amendment was only narrowly rejected four years ago.

The amendment on the November 8th ballot is titled The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016, otherwise known as Issue 6. It will require a 50 percent plus 1 vote to be set into action. Previously there was also a chance for voters to decide on Issue 7, but that has since been rejected.

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Supporters of rejected Issue 7 rally outside the Arkansas Supreme Court. Image: Kelly P. Kissel/AP

Issue 6 is a step forward for medical marijuana advocates and opens up marijuana usage for people suffering from cancer, Crohn's disease and other diseases, disorders and syndromes.

Gary Fults, volunteer coordinator for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said he recognizes that no politicians in Arkansas support medical marijuana, but claims there are many politicians that privately support medical marijuana and that Arkansas' politicians "are all ball-less".

"Democrats are scared to death here [to support medical marijuana usage]," Fults told Motherboard. "They are losing seats every election. But, there are many individuals running for office who are in full support of medical marijuana."

Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe, right, and Scott Pace, CEO of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association reiterate their opposition to medical marijuana initiatives. Image: Kelly P. Kissel/AP

In 2012, voters narrowly defeated an initiative to legalize medical marijuana. But since then supporters, organized through Arkansans for Compassionate Care, have outraised opposing organizations funding three-to-one, so there is some hope for the conservative state.

Issue 6 does not cover people suffering from anorexia, asthma, autism, bipolar disorder, bulimia and many more serious disorders, diseases and syndromes.