LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — If Arkansas voters approve a ballot issue that would make the state the first in the South to legalize medical marijuana, the move could set off a new series of fights in cities and counties over how to deal with the measure's impact.The proposal on next Tuesday's ballot calls for allowing patients with qualifying conditions to buy marijuana from nonprofit dispensaries with a doctor's recommendation, but local governments also could ban the facilities. Local officials opposed to the measure are exploring that as a backup plan, but also say they're worried it could lead to a proliferation of home-grown marijuana.That's because while the proposal allows local governments to restrict the dispensaries, they cannot prohibit another part of the measure that would allow qualifying patients to grow their own marijuana if they live more than five miles away from a dispensary."The ability to grow six marijuana plants could make this more pervasive in our society than the dispensaries themselves. I think each jurisdiction, each county would have to look at that question," said Chris Villines, executive director of the Association of Arkansas Counties, a group opposed to the measure. "Do you want the dispensaries or do you want to have a more ubiquitous growing operation across your county?"Supporters of the medical marijuana proposal say they wanted to allow local governments to have some say over the number of dispensaries, but didn't want to render the law moot by allowing them to prohibit patients from growing themselves. Chris Kell, campaign strategist for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said he believes counties would rather allow the dispensaries so they could have some oversight rather than banning them outright."It's going to be treated the same way alcohol is now," Kell said.Forty of Arkansas' 75 counties ban alcohol sales, but allow exceptions for private clubs. Kell thinks it would be counterproductive for local governments to ban the dispensaries, and said most patients would prefer going to them rather than growing their own marijuana.Health conditions that would qualify under the proposal include cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS and Alzheimer's disease. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana in some way.Arkansas' proposal faces an uphill fight in next week's election, even though backers have enjoyed a wide fundraising advantage. Many of the state's top elected officials, including Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, are opposed to the measure.More than half the voters surveyed in a University of Arkansas poll released last week said they were opposed to the proposal. The annual Arkansas Poll, taken Oct. 9-14, surveyed 800 people and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.That polling has meant many mayors and city officials aren't yet making plans to restrict or prohibit the dispensaries. The county association and the Arkansas Municipal League say they haven't yet heard from local governments seeking guidance on what to do if the measure passes."They haven't gone to Plan B because they don't think it will pass," said Don Zimmerman, the municipal league's executive director. The league hasn't taken a formal position on the measure, but its public safety advisory council has opposed it, Zimmerman said.Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, a former local prosecutor, is among those who are skeptical of the proposal. He said he will look at any restrictions the city can enact if voters approve it.One of the chief opponents of the measure, Jerry Cox, said if the proposal passes, he will make it his priority to encourage the state Legislature to repeal the law. That would require a two-thirds vote in both the state House and Senate.Cox, who heads the Family Council Action Committee, said he also will likely lobby local governments to ban the dispensaries."What you're dealing with is varying degrees of bad," he said. "Letting people grow their own and having dispensaries is worse than if we didn't have the dispensaries."___Andrew DeMillo can be reached at www.twitter.com/ademillo .Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.