Arkansas Defies The Odds And Legalizes Medical Marijuana

If you ever dreamed of buying marijuana at Walmart (headquartered in Arkansas) you're one step closer to making it a reality as of tonight. Voters in the Natural State have passed the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (Issue 6) according to Politico.

That means patients with cancer, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s or other qualifications will soon be able to legally access cannabis in Arkansas, which becomes the 29th state to legalize medical marijuana. 

The win is particularly impressive given the obstacles in the initiative's way. First, the Issue 6 campaign had to compete with a rival initiative: Issue 7, which the Arkansas Supreme Court disqualified from the ballot on October 27. But by then, over 140,000 votes had already been cast.

That confusion wasn't the only snag for the campaign. Issue 6 was opposed by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who headed the DEA during the George W. Bush Administration. Hutchinson not only spoke out against medical marijuana. He has also donated $10,000 to the campaigns against Issues 6 and 7. 

"The initiatives that will be on the ballot do not lead to good medicine it is not good medical practice and it is not best for the patient," Governor Hutchison said during a press conference last month.

And the polls weren't on the "yes" campaign's side. According to a University of Arkansas survey released earlier this week, 49 percent of likely voters supported Issue 6 while 47 percent were opposed and 4 percent were undecided.

But it looks like those undecideds pulled through, making Arkansas the third Southern state to legalize medical marijuana -- after Louisiana and Florida, which came onboard earlier this evening. With those footholds in the region, activists can now focus on challenging cannabis prohibition elsewhere in Dixie.

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For cannabis enthusiasts living in adult use states, long gone are the days of sneaking around with a dime bag in a coat pocket and worrying about whether the neighbors know you’ve got weed. But the sad truth is that, for millions of Americans living in prohibition or restrictive medical-only states, accessing safe and regulated cannabis is still a problem. But does that mean that those living without access to the regulated market are abstaining from cannabis altogether?

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