LITTLE ROCK, AR - Legalizing pot in Arkansas is the goal of two groups who took their fight across central Arkansas on Wednesday.
While the groups have two different reasons for medical cannibis, both say legalizing it may help save lives.
Arkansans for Compassionate Care hopes to legalize medical marijuana. It's hosting a group called LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), which hopes to end a "failing war on drugs." But some of those on the front line of that fight are not on board with either mission.
Terry Nelson is taking the fight for LEAP to central Arkansas. A long-time veteran of law enforcement, Nelson has his reasons why the war against drugs isn't working.
"32 years of experience teaches me that we're not gonna arrest our way out of the drug problem. We need to change what we're doing," he says.
In front of a group of people inside a Bryant library, he calls the war on drugs across the board a total failure and says the solution is legalization. They feel the fight against drugs is doing more harm than good and costing too much money.
And while they don't condone drug use, they are hosted by a group that does support marijuana use strictly for medical reasons.
"Our interest in it is the failed war on drugs against patients for medical cannabis," says Melissa Fults with Arkansans for Compassionate Care.
Arkansans for Compassionate Care is holding meetings like these across the state to educate on their mission as they prepare to have their issue on the ballot this election year. It's an issue not everyone supports.
"A step in the wrong direction," says Crowson.
With the meeting in their city, the Bryant Police Department wants everyone to know they don't support the organization and says they'll continue to fight.
"We feel very strongly about it," Crowson says. "We see first hand what various drugs have done to individuals and families, how it's torn families apart."
With hopes to regulate who can manufacture it, control the percentage of actual drug in the product and regulate who can buy/sell it, a group of cops, lawyers and judges that believe are out to educate the public on the benefits of legalizing marijuana for medical use.
"This isn't just something that people worry about recreation, this is really something that can save lives," says Fults.
They're actively seeking petition signatures by July 7 to have their issue placed on the ballot. They have 10,000 now and need 50,000 more.
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