Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Little Rock, Ark. — On Monday lawmakers at the Arkansas Legislature filed H.B. 1605, a bill that would legalize Delta-8 THC, a cannabinoid found in both hemp and marijuana plants. Unlike medical marijuana, Delta-8 is currently unregulated under Arkansas law. Because it, like marijuana, impairs users and poses a danger to children, several states have passed laws making the product illegal. Instead of making Delta-8 illegal, H.B. 1605 regulates it by making Delta-8 legal for persons over age 21.

Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement, saying, “H.B. 1605 is a bad bill. How many times will voters have to tell lawmakers that they don’t want recreational marijuana in any form? They made this very clear at the polls last November when they soundly rejected recreational marijuana. The people are smart enough to know that Arkansas does not need another drug problem.”

Cox said, “The marijuana industry failed at the polls last November. Now they are trying to succeed by walking the halls of our State Capitol and influencing our elected officials. Right now Arkansas law does not specifically address drugs like Delta-8 THC made from industrial hemp. Instead of prohibiting drugs like Delta-8 THC, H.B. 1605 enacts regulations that let wealthy companies manufacture and sell these dangerous drugs under the state’s industrial hemp law.”

Cox said the regulations in H.B. 1605 are not sufficient enough to protect Arkansans from drugs. “This bill puts the Tobacco Control Board in charge of drugs made from cannabis. Our state has had enough problems with underage drinking and underage smoking that we know this bill’s regulatory framework won’t protect kids from being exposed to these other drugs as well. Lawmakers could pass a measure that would actually restrict drugs made from industrial hemp. About a dozen other states have made it illegal, but this bill takes Arkansas in the wrong direction.”

Cox called on Arkansans to make their voices heard on H.B. 1605. “Over the past decade we have seen drug problems worsen in states that have legalized marijuana. Now is not the time to legalize drugs in Arkansas. We are urging voters to contact their legislators in the Arkansas House of Representatives and in the Arkansas Senate and politely ask them to oppose H.B. 1605, the bill to legalize drugs made from cannabis. There is simply too much at stake for voters to sit this one out.”