Family Council announces anti-legalization tour, radio ads October 5, 2022 By Griffin Coop The Arkansas Family Council will host a series of community meetings across the state this month and will run radio ads to encourage the public to vote against legalizing recreational marijuana at the ballot box next month. The Family Council, a conservative lobbying group headquartered in Little Rock, will host 25 meetings in towns across the state as well as run ads on radio and post videos on social media. Some of the cities on the tour will be Arkadelphia, Batesville, Bentonville, Benton, Camden, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Texarkana and West Memphis, according to a report in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “Enough is enough, Arkansas does not need another drug problem,” Family Council President Jerry Cox said, according to a report from KARK TV in Little Rock. Cox said the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment was written by the state marijuana industry to benefit the interests of the industry, not the state, according to the Democrat-Gazette. The amendment is sponsored by Responsible Growth Arkansas, which is largely funded by the state’s cultivators and dispensaries. Cox also complained that the amendment does not tax marijuana enough and that the state legislature will not be able to make changes to the amendment, according to the Democrat-Gazette. “Whatever it is, we will be stuck with it,” Cox said. “Even if it’s fatally flawed, even if it turns out to be train wreck, we will be stuck with it from now on because that is the way they wrote it.” “I think it’s important to realize this is an amendment crafted by the marijuana industry for their own benefit. I would say it’s an uncontrollable monopoly, and that is the first thing that is wrong with it.” Cox also attacked the proposed tax benefits the legalization of marijuana would bring to the state. “It only taxes marijuana at about half the rate they do in Colorado,” he said. “The idea there will be lots of money for police and lots of money for hospitals and drug courts is not true.” The Arkansas Economic Development Institute, which studied the economics of legalizing recreational cannabis, said new revenues from legal marijuana would total $460 million over five years. Legalization would bring $210 million to the state’s general revenue funds, create around 6,400 new jobs and increase Arkansas’ gross domestic product by $2.36 billion over five years, according to the study. The Family Council reported last month it had raised $78,600, all from Little Rock poultry executive Ron Cameron, to defeat the proposed cannabis amendment. The group reported a balance of $65,408, according to its financial filing with the state Ethics Commission last month. Cox appeared on KARK public affairs shows “Capitol View” last month to debate the marijuana amendment with Responsible Growth chair Eddie Armstrong. Cox linked recreational marijuana in other states to human trafficking and drug addicts and said the marijuana industry is going to “going to ride the backs of drug addicts all the way to the bank.” The Family Council website features an article about Republican gubernatorial nominee Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ opposition to the amendment. The site also mentions the opposition of Governor Hutchinson, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. John Boozman and U.S. Rep. French Hill. The site also says there is a “growing body of research” about the dangers of marijuana legalization. For example, a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that states that legalized commercial marijuana sales saw self-harm rates rise by 46% among men ages 21 to 39. Marijuana can have damaging effects on adolescent brains — including permanent loss in IQ, difficulty thinking and problem-solving, reduced coordination, and increased risk of psychosis. The Family Council has played a prominent role in ballot initiatives in the past. In 2004, the group led the effort to pass the Arkansas Same-Sex Marriage Ban, which passed with 75% of voters in support. In 2008, the group sponsored the Arkansas Unmarried Couple Adoption Ban, which passed 57% of the vote before being struck down by the state Supreme Court. In 2008, the group also opposed the creation of a state lottery, which the voters approved with 62% of support, according to Ballotpedia. In 2016, the Family Council opposed legalizing medical marijuana, which passed with 53%, according to Ballotpedia.