Gubernatorial race reactions: Jones responds, Sanders stays silent on Biden cannabis move October 7, 2022 By Griffin Coop Arkansas Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Jones issued a statement Friday in response to President Joe Biden’s announcement Thursday that he intended to pardon federal simple marijuana offenses. Biden also said his administration will review marijuana’s drug schedule status. In Arkansas, the people rule. As governor, I would do what is right by and for Arkansans. Governors should not be made to do this wholesale, yet they also should not delay in addressing this very real issue of justice and fairness. We can free up law enforcement and prison resources to keep us safe from violent crimes and serious drugs like fentanyl, while also reuniting families and addressing inequities in our criminal justice system. As governor, I will work for a just and equitable cannabis industry in Arkansas, and, then, expunge the records of those arrested for minor marijuana possession. If voters legalize adult-use marijuana in November, which the majority of Arkansas voters are said to support, then we must immediately reunite families that were broken up by a conviction for an activity that would now be considered legal. If I serve as governor under current law, my preference is for a case-by-case review for possible pardons, a position I share with Gov. Hutchinson. We asked Republican nominee Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ campaign for her response but we have not heard back and she has not issued a statement on social media. Libertarian nominee Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. responded last night: Great news. A step in the right direction. Next, the President can work on repealing these unjust cannabis laws. Governor Hutchinson announced yesterday in strong terms that he disagreed with Biden’s announcement. Also, a hat tip to Will Watson, strategic director of the Arkansas Democratic Party of Arkansas, and Little Rock Democratic advocate and prominent Twitter personality Kerri Case, who pointed out that Hutchinson’s anti-drug statement was tweeted at exactly … 4:20 p.m. Hutchinson’s statement: The President, in his announced policy on marijuana, has waived the flag of surrender in the fight to save lives from drug abuse and has adopted all the talking points of the drug legalizers. The Department of Justice should not issue blanket pardons but each case should be looked at individually. As Governor I have issued hundreds of pardons to those who have been convicted of drug offenses. But in this time of rising crime, there should be a clear record of law-abiding conduct before pardons are issued. In terms of rescheduling marijuana, the president is ignoring the science that is behind the different categories of drugs. While his proposal sounds good, this is a step that has not been taken by the Obama Administration or the Trump Administration. Biden is simply playing election-year politics and sacrificing our national interest to win votes.