LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas failed to become the first southern state to legalize medical marijuana this week, but the narrow loss didn't discourage the measure's supporters who said Wednesday they plan to tweak their proposal and try again.
"We'll try to get it through the General Assembly and if that doesn't work, we'll take it back to the people," said Chris Kell, campaign strategist for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the group advocating for the medical marijuana measure.
Voters in Tuesday's election narrowly rejected the measure that would have allowed patients with qualifying conditions to buy marijuana from nonprofit dispensaries with a doctor's recommendation. More Arkansas voters cast ballots for the medical marijuana measure than they did for President Barack Obama, with more than 500,000 voters in favor of the marijuana issue and about 390,000 votes cast for Obama.
"I think this vote just shows that it's really not as controversial as everybody thought," Kell said.
The measure saw the strongest support in Arkansas' urban areas and in a handful of Mississippi Delta counties, while rural areas overwhelmingly rejected the proposal.
"If the campaign had been extended a little longer, I believe the margin by which it was defeated might have been greater," said Jerry Cox, one of the chief opponents of the measure.
Kell said when bringing the measure to the Capitol or the people next time, they might do away with a provision that would allow patients to grow marijuana if they live more than five miles from a dispensary.
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