- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

Texarkana Gazette, June 9, 2014

Recreational marijuana

Come November, Arkansas voters could be the first in the South to decide whether or not to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel certified the wording of a proposed state constitutional amendment called “The Arkansas Hemp and Cannabis Amendment.”

The amendment would allow the “cultivation, distribution, sale and use of the cannabis plant” and all products derive from the plant throughout the state.

The Legislature would have the authority to regulate, but not ban pot in the state. Now all supporters have to do is gather more than 78,000 signatures of registered Arkansas voters to secure the proposal a spot on the November ballot.

Not an easy task. But not impossible, either.

Two other ballot initiates regarding legal marijuana could end up on the ballot as well. Both would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, not recreational.

Back in 2012, Arkansas voters narrowly defeated an initiative to legalize medical marijuana by a vote of 537,989 to 507,757_a difference of just under 3 percent.

A lot can happen in two years. Younger voters - more inclined to favor legal marijuana - register and older voters - traditionally the opposition - fall off the rolls.

Proponents of legal pot claim that smoking marijuana can help alleviate symptoms of a number of conditions, including glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular diseases, epilepsy, cancer, asthma and pain in general. Opponents say there is no real medical basis to any of those claims.

So which side is right? Frankly, we don’t know. There is no clear medical consensus.

For the record we are not in favor of the medical marijuana proposals. We have looked at other states that have passed such measures and see more problems that positives.

But that’s for the voters to decide.

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