Jones responds to Sanders’ opposition to legalization effort October 5, 2022 By Griffin Coop Arkansas Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Jones issued a statement Tuesday night, responding to his Republican opponent’s remarks earlier this week that she opposes legalizing marijuana for adult use. Jones, who described his support in detail to Arkansas Cannabiz in August, said in the statement that he disagreed with Republican gubernatorial nominee Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ opposition to the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment. Jones also said he disagreed with Sanders’ support of Issue 2, which would require future ballot initiatives to get at least 60% of the votes cast to be approved. Sanders made her first public statements about the issues on Monday, according to a report in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Arkansas Cannabiz has identified nearly $50,000 in campaign contributions from Arkansas marijuana industry leaders to Sanders’ campaign. Here is Jones’ statement: Three weeks before ballots are cast, my opponent Sarah Huckabee Sanders is still playing games and being untruthful with Arkansans. She campaigns under the banner of “freedom” while opposing actual freedom, liberty and the will of Arkansans. Not only has she supported election denial and voter suppression, now Sanders wants to make it more difficult for Arkansans to pass ballot initiatives, a citizen-led process which gives Arkansans a seat at the table. It was through ballot initiatives that we expanded Medicare, increased minimum wage, and approved medical marijuana. I am for Arkansans having a voice and opportunity to vote on the issues that matter most to them. For months, I’ve been clear that I support the existing rules around citizen ballot initiatives and also that I support the creation of a just and equitable cannabis industry. Sanders was silent on attempts to keep adult-use marijuana off the ballot. Just as Sanders would trade on your religious liberty for anti-freedom government-mandated pregnancy – without exceptions – now, she wants to oppose any freedom for consenting adults to legally access marijuana, a plant, at a time when legalization would help keep us safe. Legalization will free up needed space in our overcrowded prisons to house truly dangerous criminals and refocus drug law enforcement on the dangerous fentanyl and opioid epidemic. A regulated industry will better protect children than the street drug dealer who will be put out of business. The initiative on the November ballot is imperfect, but is a step toward Arkansas embracing a pragmatic cannabis policy. Economists estimate the amendment will add $2.36 billion to the state’s gross domestic product over the next five years and as many as 6,400 new jobs. If approved by the majority of Arkansans, this new policy will encourage economic growth, deliver funding to support priorities like education and community safety, place focus on the actual public health emergency of fentanyl drug use, equip our hard-working law enforcement to keep us safe by focusing on serious crimes, and protect consumers. At our core, we need to focus and uplift efforts that amplify voice, encourage participation, and promote democracy. In Arkansas, the people rule, and we have important choices ahead in the November 8 election.