LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The group behind a recreational marijuana amendment on Arkansas’ ballot held a press conference Tuesday to respond to criticisms and remind voters of some positives associated with possible passage.
The amendment has received criticism from people across the political spectrum.
Some recreational marijuana advocates say the amendment does not go far enough, while social conservatives have pointed out moral issues related to the passage. Responsible Growth Arkansas, the group pushing for Issue 4, expressed their opinion on arguments against the issue.
“A lot of what we’re seeing now is unfortunate,” said Eddie Armstrong, the Chairman for Responsible Growth Arkansas. “I think this has always been about the citizens of Arkansas.”
According to a study from the Arkansas Economic Development Institute, Issue 4 could bring millions in tax revenue and nearly a billion dollars in yearly cannabis sales.
Additionally, the state would add more than 6,000 jobs, according to that same study.
Oppositional groups have come out and urged voters to say no to Issue 4 and, a Monday event, Gov. Asa Hutchinson expressed serious reservations.
“There’s a lot of concern about what this means to our workforce, the ability to produce, and to grow jobs the way we want to in this state,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said the legislature’s inability to amend the statutes without voter approval could be dangerous.
“That makes it very difficult if somehow this misses the mark,” Hutchinson said.
A main criticism from progressive voters’ concerns the amendment’s lack of home grow, no expungement elements and language that would appear to monopolize the cannabis industry.
Armstrong said the coalition of people who attended Tuesday’s event showed support from people of every socioeconomic background challenge that concern.
“Say hello to the Arkansas monopoly,” Armstrong said as he gestured to the dozens of people at the event. “These are everyday working Arkansans.”