Ark. Medical Society opposes medical marijuana

Marijuana plants grow at the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, in Seattle. Washington state is on the verge of becoming the first in the nation to let adults over 21 buy taxed, inspected marijuana at state-licensed shops. Supporters of Initiative 502 say allowing recreational pot sales could make drug laws a little more reasonable, prevent thousands of arrests a year, and bring Washington hundreds of millions of dollars to help pay for schools, health care and basic government services. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Medical Society has announced its opposition to a ballot item that would legalize medical use of marijuana in Arkansas.

The organization represents more than 4,300 physicians and medical students in the state. The conservative lobbying group Family Council Action Committee on Monday praised the society’s 40-member board for voting to oppose the marijuana measure.

Backers of the measure say marijuana has helped them through pain and nausea during chemotherapy and other medical conditions when other drugs failed. The group Arkansans for Compassionate Care has released a list of dozens of doctors who support the measure.

But the society says advances in conventional medications enable regulated drugs to counter the conditions cited by the marijuana backers. The society says the negative consequences of legalizing medical marijuana outweigh the benefits.

— Associated Press