The following is a press release dated Tuesday, December 17, from the Benton County Republican Women.

Republican Women Ask Voters Not to Sign Petitions for Legalizing Pot

[Benton County, Arkansas, December 17, 2019] The members of Benton County Republican Women (BCRW) have voted to stand against the effort to put a recreational marijuana issue on the 2020 general election ballot. Quite simply, we say “Just don’t sign!” We care deeply about the health and safety of our residents, the employers who operate here, our environment, and our quality of life.

“The best way to fight legalized recreational marijuana is to refuse to sign the petition to put it on the ballot. We are asking Arkansans to spread that message,” said Rebecca Hedges, President of Benton County Republican Women. “Recreational marijuana has created devastating public health and safety risks for the states that legalized it. We don’t need that in Arkansas.”
Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia (Washington DC) have legalized recreational marijuana use over the last several years. Studies in those states show this is raising insurance costs and tax burden, destroying the futures of their young people, and increasing drugged-driving fatalities. These states have seen an increase in property crime as well as violent crime. The death rate of users is four times higher than non-users. In Colorado, they found that for every dollar gained in tax revenue, Coloradans spend approximately $4.50 to mitigate the effects of legalization. On so many levels, legalizing marijuana is a losing proposition.

Dianna Lankford, a BCRW member who serves as a 3rd District Director for the Arkansas Federation of Republican Women stated, “Legalizing recreational marijuana will be devasting to this generation and generations to come. In Colorado, within just five years of legalizing recreational marijuana, it is the number one state in the country for youth drug use. That is a sobering fact, isn’t it?”

The new marijuana industry (often referred to as “Big Marijuana”) is keenly focused on marketing to manipulate teens. The industry wants to ensure they become lifelong customers. They are putting staggering amounts of money behind these aggressive ballot initiatives and lobbying activities.

“Our hearts weigh heavy with concern for our young people,” said Melanie Elliott, BCRW immediate past president. “Teen users are seven times more likely to attempt suicide. One in six teens who try marijuana will become addicted. Responsible Arkansans care about the future of our young people and our state. The industries who benefit from making money from us do not. They only care about selling pot and creating addicts. This ballot initiative is irresponsible and reckless. Just don’t sign the petition.”

As an organization, Benton County Republican Women is joining the fight against Big Marijuana and their devastating ballot initiative. We won’t allow them to degrade the health and safety of our people and destroy our strong economy that depends on a safe and unimpaired workforce.

Join our mission. Visit Resources for more information and speakers to present to your church, company, organization, or civic club are available from An American Speaks, Additional resources are available at Americans Against Legalized Marijuana,

Other experts available to contact for quotes:
Toni Rose, An American Speaks, Cofounder,, 501-725-0219
Mike Bishop, An American Speaks, Cofounder,, 501-725-0219
Senator Cecile Bledsoe,, 479-685-5394