Arkansas voters set to consider constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana

Decriminalizing marijuana proposition
Decriminalizing marijuana proposition(Ally Kadlubar)
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 6:14 PM CDT
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(KNOE) - Voters in Arkansas are set to consider a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana.

Arkansas allows citizen groups to put amendments on the ballot if they get enough signatures.

“Arkansas doesn’t need another drug problem,” Jerry Cox, the President of Family Council, told KNOE.

Responsible Growth Arkansas (RGA) sponsored the amendment.

“I think we’re taking some of that dark marijuana trade off the streets, making it legal, taxing it, and putting it into the light,” explained Lance Huey, Vice Chairman of Responsible Growth Arkansas.

If approved, adults over 21 will be allowed to possess up to one gram of cannabis for recreational use.

“It sends the wrong message to our kids,” Cox added. “It tells our kids that it must be ok. It also sends the wrong message to the general public that somehow marijuana must be harmless.”

The provision will allow the state to distribute licenses to growers and retail stores.

“If we allow this 100% THC into really colorful edibles, which is what this amendment does, then we are going to see a lot of kids suffer from this,” said Cox.

Meanwhile, Huey believes the amendment will actually protect consumers by regulating cannabis.

“We already have marijuana on the street,” Huey told KNOE. “It’s just in the form of untested, untaxed, unsafe, often time dangerous with what it can be laced with.”

The state will impose a 10% supplemental tax on recreational marijuana.

A study found that could result in $460 million over five years. The amendment outlines where that money will be allocated.

“The stipend for law enforcement,” said Huey. “The money to help fund Arkansas’s drug courts. The money for the state’s general fund. That’s money that will come in from here on out.”

Cox says the potential risks of legalization outweigh the economic impact.

“I wish they could say that to a woman who came by my office whose son was killed in a head-on collision on the freeway here in Arkansas by a man who was high on marijuana and using alcohol,” said Cox.

The amendment will appear as Issue 4 on the ballot.