Poetic justice: Griffin references poets (and more) in curious cannabis response at AG debate October 21, 2022 By Griffin Coop Lt. Governor Tim Griffin offered some eyebrow-raising remarks about marijuana during a debate among candidates for state Attorney General earlier this week. In response to a question from panelist Christina Munoz, Griffin, the Republican nominee for attorney general, referenced poets, Moonbeam Jerry Brown, building hospitals to make people sick and seeing people “smoking pot every day.” Here are Griffin’s initial remarks to the question: Of course I oppose this. This is ridiculous. To say that we’re going to give more money for police, that’s like saying I’m going to build more hospitals so I can make more people sick. You’re going to create more crime. Griffin started to reference former California Governor Jerry Brown, whom he called “Moonbeam Jerry Brown,” before moderator Steve Barnes cut him off and gave the floor to Jesse Gibson, the Democratic nominee. Gibson pointed out that legalization would allow law enforcement to focus on violent crimes. When it was Griffin’s turn to speak again, he made more curious remarks: He’s not speaking properly. So, we checked with the corrections. There are fewer than 10 people in our prisons who are there because of simple possession of marijuana. The idea that this is what law enforcement is spending their days on is ridiculous. I drive past people smoking pot everyday and recreational is not even legal. Look, if we’re going to have a bunch of poets in Arkansas, it may not matter as much if they are all high. But, if we want people doing high-tech jobs that they’ve got to pass a drug test for, we’re going to have a really hard time recruiting aerospace industry and car industry if they are high on pot.” Griffin’s comments spurred us to take a look at the tech industry in state’s that have legalized recreational marijuana. Interestingly, states that have legalized recreational marijuana are doing quite well with the tech industry, according to data from the Computing Technology Industry Association. California (7.8%), Washington (9.4%), Oregon (6.3%) and Colorado (8.3%) have very strong recreational marijuana programs and also have a much higher percentage of residents working in the tech industry than Arkansas (3%). For what it’s worth, one success story from the Little Rock Technology Park, a tech business incubator, is Abaca, a tech company that provides financial services to the cannabis industry.