Debate Over Medical Marijuana Continues in AR

Debate Over Medical Marijuana Continues in AR

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Error loading player: No playable sources found LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas voters recently said yes to a measure to legalize medical marijuana. The approval brings relief to some who rely on marijuana to treat conditions like PTSD, but some opponents still worry legalization may do more harm than good. Navy veteran Blake Ruckle suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. He says the memories of his 2011 missions to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia began haunting him two years ago. "My crew were the ones who brought the bodies off the helicopters. I was struggling with alcoholism very badly and I started to suffer from a lot of depression from a lot of the things that iId seen and was having night terrors, trouble sleeping, Ruckle said. He kept his struggles, even contemplation of suicide, a secret, until after he was honorably discharged in 2014. Then he read stories online about how some veterans were finding relief through smoking marijuana. So Ruckle started buying and smoking marijuana – illegally. And he says it helped – a lot. But this self-described Christian in Fayetteville, Arkansas now faced a new battle…a moral one. "I felt like a criminal and felt that I was displeasing to my faith and to my god. The one thing that I found that helped me was under such scrutiny and was illegal," he said. Illegal under state law, until now. This month, voters here chose to amend the state’s constitution by a vote of 53-percent to 47-percent, making Arkansas the first state in the bible belt to legalize medical marijuana. According to Pew research, seven out of ten Arkansans call themselves ‘highly religious.’ To win them over, Little Rock attorney David Couch, who’s group sponsored the ballot initiative, took his case to church congregations. […]

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