Inside Politics: Medical marijuana battle journeys to Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The home state of Bill Clinton, 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. The move offers supporters a rare chance to make inroads in a region that has resisted easing any restrictions on the drug.

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.

So far, 17 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana in some form. Massachusetts voters are expected to vote on it in November, and another measure could appear on North Dakota’s ballot.

NORTH CAROLINA

Convention viewing shifts away from TV to Web

CHARLOTTE — TV viewership for last week’s Republican National Convention dropped sharply from 2008.

But the convention was a hit online and on social networks, the latest evidence of the political conversation’s gradual migration from traditional media to the Web.

There are many reasons this year’s conventions may be less compelling than in 2008. Four years ago was a historic election that saw Democrat Barack Obama become the first black presidential nominee and then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin emerge as a Republican Party star.

Hurricane Isaac drew at least some attention away from the largely surprise-free GOP gathering in Tampa, Fla., last week.

Little news also is expected at this week’s Democratic convention in Charlotte, where Mr. Obama will be nominated for a second term.

NEW YORK

GOP lawmaker faces questions over donations

NEW YORK — Rep. Michael G. Grimm got a lot of financial help in his first campaign thanks to an Israeli rabbi.

But that fruitful association is turning into a big headache for the Republican from New York’s Staten Island. There are now allegations of illegal donations and potentially embarrassing associations.

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