The following press release is from Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana.

Friday, November 4, 2016

On Friday Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana held a press conference regarding widespread opposition to marijuana ballot Issue 6.

The group identified thirty separate organizations and eighty-nine public officials who have come out against Issue 6. Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana noted that opposition to marijuana in Arkansas cuts across political party lines, industries, and professions.

Prominent opponents of Issue 6 identified by the group include Governor Asa Hutchinson; Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe; Arkansas Children’s Hospital; Arkansas Heart Hospital; the Arkansas Medical Society; the Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families; Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation; and Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

Most of the organizations identified at the press conference are not members of Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana, but have issued statements in opposition to Issue 6.

Members of the executive committee of Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana issued statements at the press conference.

Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Randy Zook said, “The State Chamber is opposed to Issue 6 because it is promoting marijuana as medicine, which it is not. Further, using a vote of the people to make marijuana medicine is not the correct process. Issue 6’s anti-discrimination clauses will put employers in an unclear environment that will most certainly result in lawsuits, while reducing the safety and productivity of the workplace and available workforce.”

Bo Ryall, President and CEO of the Arkansas Hospital Association, said, “The Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA) opposes ballot Issue 6 on marijuana, and has joined the coalition Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana. This ballot initiative is disguised as ‘medical marijuana,’ but ultimately allows the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. As an association of medical providers and employers, we oppose Issue 6.”

Family Council Action Committee President Jerry Cox said, “These so-called ‘medical marijuana’ ballot measures are nothing more than recreational marijuana masquerading as medicine. Anyone with pain or nausea can qualify to smoke marijuana without a prescription. Drug addiction will plague our children and grandchildren if so-called ‘medical marijuana’ becomes legal.”

Kevin Russell of Coalition for Safe Arkansas Communities said, “Marijuana Issue 6 is extremely dangerous because it’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  It is a constitutional amendment that will be nearly impossible to change or place safeguards on to help protect our communities and children.  It is financed by big industry backers looking to profit off of our most vulnerable and it is overseen by the Alcohol Beverage Control board, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything remotely medical.”

Larry Page with Arkansas Committee for Ethics Policy said, “Smoked and ingested marijuana is not legitimate medicine.  If there are some valid medical applications for components of marijuana, then medical science needs to do the requisite research, extract those components, and develop bona fide medicine for which quality can be assured, dosages can be measured, prescriptions can be issued, and pharmacies can dispense.  Get the science right — and then we can get the law right.”

Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation issued a statement, saying, “Farm Bureau’s current policy is against Issue 6 due to many reasons, such as the potential abuse the amendment would cause. Allowing ‘pain’ opens it up to basically recreational marijuana and this leads to additional stress to our communities, public safety, and government expense.”