Medicine Dispensing Systems, Inc. (MDS) and Kind Clinics, LLC filed suit in Federal Court in Little Rock this morning, citing "false allegations" by Family Council President Jerry Cox, a staunch opponent of Issue 5, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act.
The MDS lawsuit asks for injunctive relief and damages for defamation, negligence, and federal trademark dilution as well as punitive damages.
While Cox referred to them as "vending machines", MDS says it sells "highly controlled drug dispensing systems" used only in hospitals, pharmacies, urgent care centers and doctor's offices. One of Cox's statements inferred that the machines could be found in convenience stores.
MDS explained in the lawsuit how the dispensing systems work:
- After getting a doctor's prescription, the patient then registers with the medical clinic and is issued a card used only on the MDS and in a medical clinic.
- When a patient obtains medical marijuana in a clinic from the MDS, an identification card is first swiped and a PIN number is entered.
- Then, the machines scans and verifies thumbprint identification before allowing the product to be dispensed for them by a medical professional.
- The entire transaction is recorded on camera.
The lawsuit mentions an interview Cox gave KARK 4 News, in which he described the machines as distributing marijuana without any prescription to the public.
Cox's "false statements," altering the appearance of the product and displaying it at the news conference "irreparably harmed MDS" and will continue to harm them, the lawsuit states.
MDS asks the court to grant prayer for relief by issuing a preliminary and permanent injunction against Cox's allegations, including a requirement that he make a public statement and apology for making false statements and publish it on the Family Council website.
The lawsuit filing includes copies of stories found on various news media websites, including KARK 4.
Family Council Responds to Lawsuit
Shortly after noon today, Family Council issued the following statement about the lawsuit.
"A lawsuit has been filed against us by a company in California," Cox said. "We have no response to the specific allegations in the lawsuit itself. The matter has been referred to our attorney."
Cox went on to say, "Family Council Action Committee has taken a stand for what's right for many years. The people of Arkansas are well aware of that, and most appreciate it. However, not everyone agrees with us. When you operate in the arena we do, lawsuits can and will be filed against you.
"This is a national issue. People from all over the country are watching to see what Arkansas does. We addressed the broad issue of marijuana and vending machines.
"This does not change any of the problems with the measure. Issue 5 is still a backdoor effort to legalize marijuana in Arkansas."