Eurekans support petition for medical marijuana

Friday, March 4, 2016

Eureka Springs residents who support medical marijuana backed the issue in writing Tuesday.

Alderman James DeVito said a petition to get medical marijuana on the ballot during the next election cycle received at least 200 signatures throughout the day. DeVito and others manned a booth outside the Eureka Springs voting center, where they ran out of petitions after a while.

"We had to scour for more. Luckily I found somebody that had a packet on them, so I think we might make it through the day," DeVito said Tuesday afternoon. "It's been pretty steady all day long."

DeVito recalled how Arkansas voters almost passed the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act in 2012. The proposal failed, with 52 percent voting against it. If the proposal makes it onto the ballot this year, DeVito said it has a good chance of being approved by voters.

"In four years, the general public has learned a lot about medical marijuana and its effectiveness in treating tumors, nausea and seizures," DeVito said.

Though he's never needed medical marijuana, DeVito said it helped his wife when she had cancer. His firsthand experience, he explained, has convinced him to support the act.

"The research is proving it's very effective at treating some ailments. I think people all over the country are starting to support it because it's come to a time that we recognize something that's proved effective for thousands of years," DeVito said.

Glenn Strange, who worked the booth with DeVito, pointed out that marijuana offenses are already the lowest classified drug offenses in Eureka Springs.

"If you've got a car to wash, go do it. Don't look for a kid smoking pot. That's been the law in Eureka Springs for a couple of years now," Strange said.

The reason behind the law, DeVito noted, is to point out how benign marijuana is compared to othe drugs.

"It's wrong to classify marijuana with heroin and cocaine. Even the feds aren't going after the states that are legalizing marijuana," DeVito said. "The handwriting's on the wall."

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