|Updated: 10/25/2012 9:56 am
||Published: 10/24/2012 7:45 am
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A group of Arkansas doctors are speaking out against the effort to legalize "medical marijuana" at the ballot box. However, the Arkansas Medical Society is not standing by them.
A handful of doctors, calling themselves the Physician Coalition Against Medical Marijuana are taking issue with legislation they feel provides too little oversight.
"We felt like we had to make a statement because the majority of our physicians are against it," says Dr. David Smith, a palliative care physician at Baptist Health Medical Center.
Palliative care specializes in helping patients deal with pain and suffering.
"We use medications that are far more powerful and far more addicting than marijuana, but they're regulated, they're controlled," Smith says.
The self-described, ad hoc group of physicians, admits not speaking for all. The Arkansas Medical Society hasn't taken a position.
And Marvin Singleton, former Missouri Medical Board chairman takes the opposite stand in a statement released today.
"Issue 5 is a compassionate measure. Moreover, it has been drafted to ensure that only seriously ill patients will qualify to use medical marijuana. I encourage all voters to support it," Singleton says.
Gary Fults with Arkansans for Compassionate Care say 75 Arkansas doctors support it too, but won't speak out for fear it could affect their livelihoods.
"We recommend everyone read the initiative and ask questions about it instead of listening to all the rhetoric that's out there," Fults says.
Rhetoric that may or may not be reaching people already voting early.
AMS may change its public stance on medical marijuana when its governing board meets in Little Rock November 1st.