- John Lyon/Stephens Media
- DRAWS LAWSUIT: Jerry Cox with his vending machine replica.
Tall talking by Jerry Cox, head of the fundamentalist religious lobby Family Council, has landed him in a federal lawsuit by a maker of machines that dispense medical marijuana.
The suit by Medicine Dispensing Systems and Kind Clinics says Cox’s statements about use of the machines damaged the company’s reputation and were “falsely derogatory.” It objected to Cox characterizing the devices as “vending machines that sell marijuana without any prescription to the general public and at convenience stores.” This interferes with the company’s business and damages it, the lawsuit says. The suit claims defamation and also a trademark violation for using the company’s trademark in an altered fashion at a news conference. The lawsuit against Cox and the Family Council Action Committee said:
Strict security of Plaintiffs’ product and control over access to medications are key features of the MDS. Defendants’ false statements, altering the appearance of Plaintiffs’ product, and displaying it at the news conference at the Arkansas State Capitol irreparably harmed Plaintiffs and will continue to harm Plaintiffs unless enjoined by the Court.
Tuesday, Cox spoke at a news conference at the Capitol against the medical marijuana initiative. According to the lawsuit, he had “an exact cardboard replica of the MDS. The replica had the words “Medbox” printed on it, and it was an exact representation of a MDS. The Defendants altered the MDS by pasting a large marijuana leaf to the MDS.”
The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and also injunctive relief against further statements by Cox, among others, that imply the MDS may be used 24 hours a day or at places other than licensed dispensaries (Cox raised the issue of convenience store availability). The lawsuit also seeks a public apology for false statements.
I’ve asked for a comment from Family Council. UPDATE:
“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
“Most”? What’s “right?” I guess that’s in the eyes of the beholder, Jerr.
The lawsuit outlines the steps by which the system aims to prevent unauthorized use.