At a press conference in Fayetteville, the group Arkansans for Compassionate Care announced 12 clergy members from across Arkansas who signed endorsement statements for Issue 5, the Medical Marijuana Act.
The statement reads: "As faith leaders, our position on medical marijuana is driven by compassion. Seriously ill people should not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if the patients' medical professionals have told them that such use is likely to be beneficial."
Central Baptist Church Executive Pastor of Discipleship Don Blackmore is not on the list of clergy members who signed statements of support for Issue 5.
"I understand those people and their suffering, but if you look at the true motive of this group that's trying to be the proponent of this, it's not about compassion. This is them trying to use that as a backdoor to generally legalize marijuana," Blackmore said.
"It's difficult for me to understand how other clergy could be supportive of this law."
Pastor Blackmore said he recently returned from the Arkansas State Baptist Convention in Little Rock where Baptist clergy unanimously adopted a resolution that opposes the measure.
"The reasons why that the Arkansas Baptists are opposed to this is it's bad law, based on bad science, based on bad motives."
"I think Arkansas law by and large is going to oppose this if they're informed."
Below is the list of Arkansas clergy members who signed the statements of support for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act.
- Holly Patton, Disciple of Christ | Little Rock, AR
- Kendal Land, Presbyterian | Arkadelphia, AR
- Steve Willis, Disciple of Christ | Hot Springs, AR
- Doug Criss, Methodist | Leachville, AR
- Jimmy Teeter, Methodist | Blevins, AR
- John Drymon, Episcopal | Batesville, AR
- Kelly Pearson, Presbyterian | Dardanelle, AR
- Jeff Cranton, Presbyterian | Hot Springs, AR
- Ruskin Falls, Presbyterian | Little Rock, AR
- Kerry Price, Non-denominational | Pine Bluff, AR
- Terry Hart, Presbyterian | Bull Shoals, AR
- Howard Gordon, Presbyterian | Little Rock, AR
Region 8 News contacted Doug Criss and John Drymon about their support for Issue 5. Criss did not respond to our request for comment. Drymon said he was unavailable.