Debate held in Region 8 on medical marijuana measures

Debate held in Region 8 on medical marijuana measures
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Political Animals Club hosted a medical marijuana debate on Friday.

Both Issue 6 and Issue 7 were debated,

If legalized, Issue 6 would legalize medical marijuana for 17 qualifying conditions, create a Medical Marijuana Commission and allocate tax revenue to technical institutes, vocational schools, workforce training and the state's General Fund.

If Issue 7 passes, it will legalize medical marijuana for 56 qualifying conditions, and put the Department of Health in charge of implementing the program, and allocate tax revenue to providing low-income patients with medical marijuana.

Among the risks and benefits discussed at the debate were deaths related to marijuana.

"There haven't been direct deaths from using cannabis," said Ryan Denham with Arkansas for Compassionate Care Act.  "There's never been a toxicity overdose."

However, those who oppose the measures felt differently.

"Some people will say that there haven't been any overdoses on marijuana, that's simply not true," said Jerry Cox, president of the Family Council.  "The marijuana edibles, that have maybe 80% THC concentration infused in there, do cause overdoses. They do cause severe reactions."

Another issue addressed was children gaining access to the drug in edible forms, like candy.

"If a kid brings candy to school is it going to be marijuana candy or some other kind of candy? You cannot tell the difference by just looking at it. So that presents huge problems for our schools," said Cox.

According to David Couch, the sponsor of Issue 6, the effects, should children gain access, are not severe.

"There have been some children in Colorado, for example, and they may have got a gummy bear that belonged to their parents," said Couch. "If a kid eats your oxycontin, they might die. If he has your gummy bear, he's going to go to sleep and wake up the next day. There's no long-term effects."

At the close of the debate, audience members were allowed to ask questions and representatives from each side encouraged voters to read the measures before casting their ballots.

Early voting starts Oct. 24.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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