LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) and several notable industry leaders held a joint press conference Monday to speak against Issue 4, the recreational marijuana amendment on the ballot.
“This puts us at a disadvantage in recruiting industry if Issue 4 passes,” Hutchinson said.
Representatives from trucking, insurance, construction and agriculture bluntly stated they do not support recreational marijuana for the state. Shannon Newton is the President of the Arkansas Trucking Association. She said recreational marijuana would result in fewer capable truckers and unsafe roadways.
“We have significant concerns about the future safety of Arkansas roadways,” Newton said. “Marijuana impairs reaction time, decision-making abilities.”
Opponents of Issue 4 note it does not expunge criminal records or allow for home growth. If passed, it cannot be altered by the legislature.
“That makes it very difficult if somehow this misses the mark,” Hutchinson said.
Eddie Armstrong is a chairman for Responsible Growth Arkansas, the group behind Issue 4. He called much of the criticism unwarranted.
“This is not a political led movement,” Armstrong said. “This is a citizen-led movement, and we hope to get this over the finish line for the citizens that want to see it.”
Armstrong said the passage would be good for Arkansas’ economy in several ways.
“We have an opportunity to suppress the black market and do some real good for the state of Arkansas that I think the governor should be in favor of,” Armstrong said. “Number one, job creation.”
Armstrong said polling shows Arkansans are ready for recreational marijuana.
“They’re saying we should legalize it, and we’d like to see it here in the state,” Armstrong said.
Hutchinson said wavering support Issue 4 shows it is not the right time.
“That’s all you can ask of Arkansans is to think it through and make a decision,” Hutchinson said.