Arkansas Gov. Ava Hutchinson (R) last week indicated he will vote ‘no’ on the question to legalize cannabis for adult use. In a tweet announcing the decision, Hutchinson linked to the website of the anti-legalization group Safe and Secure Communities.
Hutchinson is a former administrator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
“The science is clear. Recreational marijuana leads to increased drug use among minors & more dangerous roadways. This November, I’m voting NO on Issue 4 to legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas & I hope you’ll join me.” — Hutchinson via Twitter
Hutchinson’s announcement comes a month after David Burnett, the police chief of Fairfield Bay, formed a committee opposing the reforms. In the filing to form Save Arkansas from Epidemic, Burnett and attorney AJ Kelly said the committee’s purpose is to “oppose the 2022 proposal to amend the Arkansas constitution, which would ‘legalize’ under state law the ‘recreational use’ of marijuana. Committee opposes legalization of recreational marijuana.”
Arkansas does allow medical cannabis use and the program has proven financially successful, reaching a new record for total pounds sold in August. In all, licensed cannabis businesses sold $23.7 million worth of medical cannabis products last month.
Hutchinson is term-limited and not seeking reelection. The reforms are supported by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Jones, while Republican nominee Sarah Sanders has not stated her position on the proposal.
Despite the rejection of the initiative’s popular name and title by the state Board of Election Commissioners, which claimed it doesn’t fully explain the constitutional amendment or that the measure would repeal the state’s current THC limit on medical cannabis products, the Arkansas Supreme Court is conditionally allowing the question to appear on November ballots. The court, though, has not yet confirmed whether it will allow the votes to count.
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