|Updated: 8/22/2011 10:43 pm
||Published: 8/22/2011 8:28 pm
Right now, a grassroots effort is underway to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas. The group Arkansans for Compassionate Care met Monday night in hopes of gathering enough signatures and support to put a medical marijuana initiative on the 2012 ballot.
Medical marijuana is legal in Washington, D.C. and 16 states. Arkansas is not one of them, but Ryan Denham wants to change that.
"There are no southern states that have legalized medical marijuana, so I think it would send definitely an important message nationally to the Congress that, you know, our system is broken and patients need access to medical marijuana. And just to be clear, we're not trying to decriminalize marijuana or to provide it recreationally, this is only for people that are sick or have terminally ill conditions," says Denham.
The group Arkansans for Compassionate Care knows gathering the more than 60-thousand signatures needed to get a medical marijuana initiative on the 2012 ballot may be a challenge. A similar effort failed in 2004.
"They were not able to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. So, you know, I've talked to dozens and dozens of patients across the state. People that suffer from debilitating medical conditions things like multiple sclerosis, cancer, hepatitis c, and, you know, the patients are really kind of just fed up with the fact that they have to break the law to get the medicine their doctor recommends," added Denham.
FOX16 was not allowed inside Monday night's meeting, but you can expect to see the group out at big events gathering signatures. The exact number needed is 62,507. The group is trying to get a booth at the Arkansas State Fair.