Early Voting starts today. One of the issues on the ballot is Issue 4 - "Recreational Marijuana"
Even liberal groups and leaders, those who would normally support recreational marijuana, are OPPOSED because of how poorly this is written and lack of accountability. Contrary to the deceptive ads law enforcement doesn't support this and it won't raise more money for police.
Here are the problems and some of the reasons to vote NO:
-- Crime: Drug cartels can operate marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities anywhere in Arkansas, because there are no residency requirements for owners and no criminal background checks for those who work for them. Additionally a percentage of the owners are not required to even have any sort of criminal background check.
-- Shady Accounting: This amendment strictly prohibits anyone from requiring dispensaries or cultivation facilities to keep a separate inventory of which marijuana is medical and which is recreational. It also repeals that medical marijuana expense reports be provided to the legislature.
-- Drug Legalization: It legalizes much more than the cannabis plant. It legalizes tetrahydrocannabinol, a powerful addictive drug extracted from the cannabis plant, sometimes using an environmentally dangerous process.
-- Children Will Suffer: This amendment removes the child safety standards from medical marijuana and it fails to set packaging, labeling, and marketing standards that protect children.
-- Harm to Communities: Marijuana dispensaries and processing facilities can be located next to drug rehab facilities, homeless shelters, parks, playgrounds, picnic areas, libraries, and other places frequented by children and other vulnerable people.
-- Uncontrollable Monopoly: The amendment prohibits the Arkansas Legislature, cities, or counties from passing any laws, including zoning and taxes, to regulate marijuana. The marijuana industry crafted this amendment and they are writing themselves and marijuana into our state constitution. 80% of California, 60% of Oregon, and 64% of Colorado's local communities have banned the sale and production of marijuana, this amendment would not allow any form of local control on cultivation facilities.
-- Appealing to Children: Unlimited amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol to be infused into candy and soft drinks that appeal to children and it allows prime time TV advertising.
-- No System of Oversight: This amendment repeals most of the oversight provisions required for medical marijuana, but it does not replace them. Instead it leaves oversight up to the five-member alcoholic beverage control board.
-- Arkansas Will Lose Tax Dollars: This amendment repeals all the taxes on medical marijuana, including taxes to pay the Health Department to test the marijuana and check up on the dispensaries and cultivation facilities, the marijuana commission to oversee and regulate it, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to monitor it, and the Department of Finance and Administration to handle the accounting of taxes collected. All of this is replaced with a meager tax structure that won’t generate enough revenue to sustain State oversight.
-- Employers Can’t Control It: The amendment only allows employers to regulate marijuana use by their employees. Nothing in the amendment allows them to prohibit employee use.
-- Landlords Can’t Prevent It: The amendment only allows property owners to prohibit people from smoking it. All other uses are allowed.
-- Marijuana Will be Legal in 34 Dry Counties: Arkansas has 34 counties where the retail sale of alcohol is illegal. This amendment would make it legal to grow, process, and sell marijuana in counties where the sale of beer and wine is illegal.
-- Every Marijuana Dispensary Can Grow, Process, and Sell All Marijuana Products: Under this amendment, dispensaries won’t just be selling marijuana, they will be growing and processing it onsite. They can have up to 100 mature plants and an unlimited supply of plants that are not mature.
-- This Amendment is Silent: This amendment simply does not say how marijuana will be tested to ensure that it has not been laced with deadly drugs like fentanyl. It is silent on how licenses will be granted. It is silent on how sales will be tracked and taxes paid. It is silent on security requirements at dispensaries and cultivation facilities.