The following is a press release from Family Council Action Committee.

On Friday supporters of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016 submitted petition signatures requesting their proposal be placed on the ballot this November.

Family Council Action Committee Executive Director Jerry Cox released a statement, saying, “Compared to the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, this proposed constitutional amendment is a different kind of bad. This amendment will bring a marijuana business monopoly to Arkansas. A five-member, unelected commission will pretty much control the industry. Only eight people will be allowed to grow marijuana in Arkansas, and only forty will be allowed to sell it. This is a brazen move funded by the alcohol industry to build an Arkansas marijuana monopoly.

“Unlike the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, which lets people grow their own marijuana at home, this amendment deliberately puts all the marijuana growing, processing, and selling into the hands of just a few select people,” Cox said.

“It’s hard to tell which one of the two marijuana measures is worse. One allows just about anyone grow it at home, and the other creates a monopoly. Both measures allow anyone with pain or nausea to get a marijuana card with just a simple note from a doctor. Both measures allow marijuana stores in cities and towns around Arkansas. Both measures allow marijuana cardholders to avoid penalties from drug testing, skirt employment rules, and use it while enrolled in school. Both would allow children, with parental consent, to acquire a card to smoke marijuana.”

Cox called both marijuana proposals bad for Arkansans. “The end result if either measure passes will be terrible for the people of Arkansas. Neither measure is medicine. There is no prescription from a doctor. Marijuana won’t be dispensed through pharmacies. No one will regulate the dosage, strength, or content. Anyone with pain or nausea can qualify to use it. Ninety-seven percent of ‘medical marijuana’ users in other states are otherwise-healthy people who claim some minor ailment. Very few are cancer patients or people suffering from serious diseases. What’s more the primary delivery method is smoking, a behavior universally deemed unhealthy. Their goal is not medicine; it is total legalization.”

Cox said both marijuana proposals will cost taxpayers money. “Taxpayers will foot the bill. Policing this industry will cost millions. Our State Foster Care system is overrun with children in need of homes because of drug-addicted parents. How many more children will land in foster care at taxpayers’ expense if Arkansas legalizes marijuana? The list of problems in other states should serve as a warning for Arkansas not to go down that same path.”

Family Council Action Committee is a conservative 501(c)(4) organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas.