(Blue Ridge Now) The home state of the president who didn’t inhale has become an unlikely front in the battle over medical marijuana.
This fall, Arkansas will be the first Southern state to ask voters whether to legalize medical uses for pot, a move that offers supporters a rare chance to make inroads in a region that has resisted easing any restrictions on the drug.
The state’s top elected officials and law enforcement agencies oppose the idea, but legalization groups hope the referendum shows that medical marijuana is no longer solely the domain of East Coast or Western states.
“This is an issue that hasn’t been ready for primetime yet in the South. It may be that it’s starting to be, and that’s a good thing,” said Jill Harris, managing director of Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance.
The South and Midwest have remained mostly on the sidelines in the nation’s marijuana-reform movement, which will also put proposals for full-scale legalization before voters this year in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state.
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