- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Medical marijuana supporters began airing their first TV ad for one of two legalization proposals on the Arkansas ballot next month, touting the measure as a way to help treat children with seizures.

One of the state’s top opponents of medical marijuana, however, said the ad shows that there’s a way to use compounds from marijuana to help patients without a more widespread medical pot initiative.

Informing Arkansas, a group affiliated with the campaign behind one of the ballot proposals, bought more than $154,000 worth of airtime to begin airing the 30-second spot in the Little Rock, Fort Smith and Fayetteville markets, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission. The ad features a New Mexico mom who says cannabidiol, or CBD, which is derived from cannabis, helped stop her infant daughter’s seizures.

“Without medical marijuana, I would have a lifeless baby in a wheelchair,” the mother says in the ad.

The spot began airing days after a coalition of groups that includes the state Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Farm Bureau began running ad statewide criticizing both medical marijuana proposals.

Both measures would allow patients with certain medical conditions to buy marijuana from dispensaries, but differ in their regulations and restrictions. Each would allow patients under the age of 18 to use medical marijuana with their parents’ permission.

State Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe, a spokesman for the coalition, said the pro-legalization group’s ad backs up his argument that there’s a way to make compounds from marijuana available without a broader measure that he says would lead to drug abuse.

“We don’t need to legalize the plant,” said Bledsoe, who noted that other states have passed laws allowing access to CBD for some patients.

The supporters of a competing medical marijuana proposal have said they don’t expect to run TV ads for their measure. Arkansas voters narrowly rejected legalizing medical marijuana four years ago.


Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo

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