by Max Brantley
It's a somewhat calmer recitation of reasons to oppose the initiative than the racially charged TV ad rolled out by the Family Council yesterday with the help of a Little Rock ad agency. It is also more factual. It acknowledges, for example, that approval by a physician is necessary for obtaining medical marijuana for specified illnesses, but argues that this is not the same thing as a prescription for scheduled drugs.
I wouldn't necessarily agree with the Baptist Convention that it's a moral issue, unless you believe prescription pain relievers are a moral issue, too. I'd also argue with the Baptists' dismissal of "intractable, chronic pain" as a justification for a marijuana certificate. The Baptist Convention says this condition cannot be "verified" by a doctor. By that logic, painkillers should be outlawed, too, as treatment for "unverifiable" pain.
Nonetheless, the e-mail is a shape of the campaign that will be waged against Arkansans for Compassionate Care.
The full e-mail follows:
Subject: Medical Marijuana Act -
Friends, marijuana use is an important moral issue. It is important that we vote against it, and encourage our friends to do so as well. Below is a list of reasons to vote against this ballot initiative. Share them with friends, or in worship folders or sermons as you have opportunity.
· NO DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION NEEDED — To qualify as a patient permitted to smoke marijuana one needs only a doctor’s certificate, not a prescription.
· LIFETIME PASS TO SMOKE MARIJUANA — The doctor’s certificate, unlike a prescription, never has to be renewed and the patient never has to be reevaluated. The certificate is good for a lifetime.
· ALMOST ANYONE CAN QUALIFY AS A PERMITTED PATIENT — The list of conditions that would qualify a patient for smoking marijuana is lengthy and includes intractable, chronic pain, a condition that cannot be verified by a doctor.
· PHARMACIES WILL NOT BE INVOLVED — Pharmacies and the tight control they utilize to control drugs and prevent abuse aren’t allowed under the act — instead only thirty or so loosely supervised dispensaries will be established.
· THOUSANDS WILL BE ALLOWED TO GROW THEIR OWN MARIJUANA — If a qualifying patient lives more than 5 miles from a dispensary — and that may describe hundreds of thousands of Arkansans — that patient can either grow his own marijuana or designate someone else to grow it for him.
· PURPORTS TO LEGALIZE ACTIVITES THAT ARE FELONIES UNDER FEDERAL LAW — Even if the AMMA passes, the growing, marketing, and possession of marijuana will still be clear violations of federal criminal laws and individuals engaging in those activities can be prosecuted for those crimes.
· THE AMMA MASQUERADES AS SOUND MEDICAL PRACTICE — If the smoking of marijuana was sound medically — groups such as the FDA, the American Medical Association, and the American Cancer Society would support and endorse the smoking of marijuana — and they have refused to do so.
· MARIJUANA USERS WILL HAVE TO BE TOLERATED BY EVERYONE — Employers, landlords, and school authorities will not be allowed to exclude or reject patients who have qualified to smoke marijuana.
· THE LAW CANNOT BE ENFORCED — The provisions of the act purporting to provide control and prevent abuses are incapable of being effectively enforced.
· THE AMMA IS REALLY ABOUT LEGALIZING MARIJUANA FOR RECREATIONAL USE — The out-of-state group, the Marijuana Policy Project, that is driving and financing the AMMA reveals on its website that its ultimate objective is the full legalization of marijuana for recreational use.
Brothers and sisters, the damage of this law, if approved by voters, would be immense. Please pray, vote, and encourage others to do the same.
Arkansas Baptist State Convention