The off and on-again Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative is on the ballot for the November 8 election. This would be an awful law and a continuation of our great state’s slippery slide into further problems of morality, safety, crime, health, family issues, and the economy. Here is a quick summary of what is at stake.
In 2016, the majority of Arkansas voters approved a similar amendment that legalized the medical use of marijuana. Many predicted this acquiescence to the THC proponents would not end there. So, here we are only six years later facing that prophetic eventuality. A group called “Arkansas True Grass” has collected over 192,000 petition signatures, more than double the 89,151 required to place the initiative on the ballot. The Arkansas State Board of Election Commission had disqualified the ballot initiative name as misleading. However, what seemed like a reprieve for opponents of the proposed amendment was reversed by the Arkansas Supreme Court a few weeks ago. Arkansas voters will vote next month for or against legalizing recreational marijuana throughout our state.
Here are just a few reasons why you should vote NO on this constitutional amendment*:
- The harmful THC concentrations in marijuana have more than doubled in the U.S. over the past decade and have increased the risk of psychosis (2022 study published in The Lancer).
- Self-harm rates, including suicide, rose 46% among men ages 21-39 in states that have legalized recreational marijuana (2021 report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA]).
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the CDC report that, after alcohol, marijuana is most often associated with impaired driving leading to traffic accidents. Unregulated use will increase Arkansas highway accidents and fatalities. Due to the increase in traffic accidents, your automobile insurance premiums will also increase.
- In Colorado and other states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, organized crime and drug cartels have greatly increased their distribution of stronger illicit black market pot to the growing population of users. Soon after Colorado’s legalization of marijuana, the state’s governor announced, “We are not making any extra revenue from this…we’ve spent millions and millions of dollars, and we still haven’t gotten people to realize you’re taking some serious risk when consuming marijuana, certainly as a teenager when your brain is still growing so rapidly.”
- A 2021 study published in Addiction found that, when pregnant mothers used marijuana, their babies were 35% more likely to be born preterm, have a low birth weight, and be smaller. A 2022 study published in JAMA found that, when pregnant mothers used marijuana, their children faced an increased risk of mental disorder.
- Since the legalization of marijuana in some states, ER visits and poison control calls have increased as a result of children accidentally eating food laced with the drug. According to CDC, secondhand marijuana smoke contains THC and can be harmful to infants, children, and others exposed to it.
- Although industries can prohibit marijuana use in the workplace, use just before work can still cause on-the-job accidents, costly production errors, and reduced productivity.
For these and many other reasons, why would The Natural State want to add a dangerous, unhealthy, and expensive law to its constitution? Aren’t we dealing with enough problematic issues already without inviting another? Ours is a beautiful and wonderful state despite our struggles with poverty, education, health, crime, and family breakups. Legalizing recreational marijuana would seriously worsen those struggles. It would in no way improve the quality of life for Arkansans.
Go to the polls early or on November 8 and vote against the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative–Issue 4–for the future of our state.
*Some of the points of this list were extracted from the Arkansas Family Council blog.