Benton County Republican Women Stand Against the Recreational Marijuana Ballot Initiative

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


Arkansas Millions of Dollars in the Hole on Marijuana

Last week we wrote how the tax revenue from “medical” marijuana sales may not be enough to cover the state’s annual costs despite the fact that millions of dollars worth of marijuana has been sold in Arkansas.

The fact is, Arkansas is already millions of dollars in the hole paying for its “medical” marijuana program — and things don’t appear to be improving any time soon.

Marijuana sellers have grossed some $23.3 million off marijuana this year.

The state will get 10.5% of that money in tax revenue — about $2.4 – $2.5 million.

However, the state’s marijuana program is going to cost the Department of Finance and Administration, the Department of Health, and the Arkansas State Police some $3.7 – $4.7 million every year, according to estimates from 2016 — and they aren’t the only agencies and offices affected by the legalization of “medical” marijuana.

To make matters worse, the State of Arkansas already has spent millions of dollars establishing the Medical Marijuana Commission and funding other offices related to “medical” marijuana.

In Fiscal Year 2018 the Arkansas Legislature appropriated $5 million for the implementation of “medical” marijuana.

In Fiscal Year 2019 they appropriated another $5 million.

And this year they passed two measures appropriating approximately $11.6 million total for the program in Fiscal Year 2020.

In other words, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment has cost the state more than $20 million already.

Some of these are one-time expenses. Others are annual costs.

All told, it seems safe to assume that “medical” marijuana will cost the state at least $5 million or more every year.

At this point, it’s unclear if the state’s tax revenue from marijuana sales will be enough to cover these annual costs, much less repay the $22 million that Arkansas has spent implementing the program.

That means regular taxpayers will have to pick up the tab for “medical” marijuana in Arkansas.

Marijuana is tied to stroke, heart problems, and hypertension as well as permanent loss in IQ and an increased risk for schizophrenia.

That’s part of the reason why the U.S. Surgeon General issued a warning about marijuana last August.

Marijuana is a dangerous drug, and it is costing the State of Arkansas millions of dollars. As we have said for years: Marijuana may be many things, but “harmless” simply is not one of them.