Fults, Couch team up with Jerry Cox, Family Council to oppose marijuana amendment October 13, 2022 By Griffin Coop Longtime marijuana advocates Melissa Fults and David Couch are teaming up with conservative activist Jerry Cox to oppose a recreational marijuana amendment voters will consider in November. Fults, Couch and Cox form an unlikely team, to say the least. “We’ve actually laughed a lot about it,” Fults said. “If anybody ever told me I was standing up next to Jerry Cox, agreeing with him against an issue for marijuana reform, I’d have told them they were crazy, but, alas, here we are.” Fults has advocated for marijuana legalization, decriminalization and the expungement of past offenses. She pushed a medical marijuana amendment in 2016 and pushed her own unsuccessful recreational marijuana amendment earlier this year. Couch wrote the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment that voters approved in 2016 to legalize cannabis in Arkansas for the first time. Cox opposed the amendment. Cox is a champion of conservative causes like the Arkansas same-sex marriage ban in 2004 and an amendment to bar unmarried people from adoption in 2008. Cox is also a vocal critic of marijuana use. In Cox’s media appearances and on his organization’s website, he regularly says legalizing recreational marijuana will create “another drug problem” and increase traffic accidents, child suicides and the likelihood of opioid use. Fults regularly extolls the virtues of marijuana and how it helps the state’s medical marijuana patients. Her talking points on the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment are quite different, she said, and Cox has even turned her talking points into a flyer. “When I get up and speak, the first thing I say is, ‘Though Jerry and I are very much opposed to this amendment, we are opposed for very different reasons,’” she said. “I fully support marijuana reform. I would fully support a good amendment, but this one is not it.” Couch said he and Cox have worked together on other issues in the past, such as tort reform. “People can disagree with each other on policies and not be disagreeable with one another,” Couch said. “I’ve always considered Jerry someone that I could work with if we agree on an issue, but, if we disagree on an issue, we work against it but don’t make it personal.” Fults and Couch have made their opposition clear for months, signaling they would not support the industry-led amendment. Fults maintains that the amendment sponsored by Responsible Growth Arkansas is too favorable to the existing marijuana industry. Couch says the amendment is too industry-friendly and would kill the state hemp industry. Fults provided a list of reasons she opposes the amendment, which includes the amendment’s failure to expunge prior offenses, the elimination of a residency requirement for cannabis business ownership and the continued prohibition on residents growing their own plants. The Arkansas Marijuana Amendment of 2022, sponsored by Fults earlier this year, also did not allow for residents to grow their own plants. If the Responsible Growth amendment fails, Fults and Couch have said they will try to put a recreational marijuana amendment on the ballot in 2024. “If Issue 4 is beat, we’ll band together and do it and Jerry will be on the opposite side,” Couch said.