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For kindness

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Twenty fourteen looks like it could be a particularly tiresome election year in Arkansas. "Republican" today translates to "mean and irresponsible" and yet Republicans will be trying, and with a pretty good chance of succeeding, to increase their majority in the state legislature. A Tea Party whacko with millions of corporate dollars behind him will be out to defeat a fairly dull Democrat who happens to be the only moderate left in the Arkansas congressional delegation. Yet another unpleasant right-winger will seek to win the governorship for the Republicans; he'd be a far worse chief executive than the last Republican to hold that office. His opponent is another uninspiring, quasi-Democrat. In just about every race, it looks like public-spirited electors will be voting against rather than for, and that's always disheartening.

But there'll apparently be at least one issue on the ballot that kind-hearted citizens can support wholeheartedly. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has approved the popular name and ballot title of a proposed initiated act to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Supporters of the act can begin collecting the signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot, and they have until next July to do so.

The proposal is similar to one that was narrowly defeated in the 2012 general election. Supporters have revised it to remove what they believe was the principal objection.

Many sick people say their suffering is relieved only by marijuana. The opponents of medical marijuana are people indifferent to others' suffering, like that Republican gubernatorial candidate mentioned above. As a one-time federal drug warrior, he seemed to enjoy siccing cops on cancer patients.

As is the case with same-sex marriage, time is on medical marijuana's side. Younger voters are receptive. Twenty states have approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes; to add Arkansas to that group is worth striving for. Two more states have approved marijuana for recreation as well.

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