Gov. Hutchinson and business leaders: medijuana could cause uncertainty, dangerous working conditions on the job. | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Gov. Hutchinson and business leaders: medijuana could cause uncertainty, dangerous working conditions on the job.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 1:03 PM

click to enlarge BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
At a press conference this morning at the State Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Asa Hutchinson continued voicing his opposition to the two ballot initiatives that could bring medical marijuana to the state. Hutchinson was backed by Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and several prominent Arkansas businessmen, who said they were worried marijuana use by their employees — along with a clause that would keep them from discriminating against those prescribed marijuana for illnesses — would cause safety concerns for their workforce and drive up insurance costs. 

Hutchinson was joined this morning by Joe Carter, CEO of Snyder Environmental, an asbestos abatement company in Little Rock; Grady Harvell, President and CEO of AFCO Steel; Doug Lawson, president and CEO of Kinco Construction, and Butch Rice, President and CEO of Stallion Transportation Group, a trucking company based in Beebe.

Carter said that while he's a parent and a compassionate person who doesn't want sick people to suffer, he is in opposition to the passage of the initiatives because of the anti-discrimination clause of the bill that would prevent someone who tested positive for marijuana from being fired. Currently, Carter said, there's no clear medical definition of what impairment by marijuana is.

"I don't know when it's safe, nor can anybody tell me when it's safe, to return that employee [who has been prescribed medical marijuana] back to work which involves hazardous duty," Carter said. "That is very troubling to me as an employer, and I don't know how I can make the state law obligations under either one of these proposed amendments and abide by the federal requirements I have under OSHA to provide a hazard free workplace to my other employees." He said if medical marijuana becomes law, it is "bound to have an impact on my general liability rates" and worker compensation rates.

"As we continue to grow," Carter said, "and we look to decide whether we're going to employ people in Arkansas, or in Texas or in Louisiana, my concern as a lifelong Arkansan is this will provide tremendous economic incentive for me to employ Texans and other people who do not face this anti-discrimination protection for the use of medical marijuana."  

Harvell said that his business involves heavy equipment and cranes, and that the introduction of employees prescribed medical marijuana would bring risk to not only that person but other employees. "One moment of inattention in our business can create a very serious accident or death," Harvell said.  

Noting that AFCO has facilities in Arkansas and Colorado, Harvell said that in the past three years, their Colorado plant has seen a 300 percent increase in terminations due to drug use. In Arkansas, plants have seen a 57 percent reduction in terminations due to hot drug tests. He said legal advice has told them they can't implement their current drug testing under either of the new laws. 

Rice said that allowing medical marijuana would not only make it harder to hire drivers into the "zero tolerance" industry, but would make highways less safe. Drivers traveling from Arkansas to states which don't have medical marijuana would be an additional issue. 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (17)

Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

More by David Koon

Readers also liked…

  • More on how highways were used to wipe out "blight" of non-white neighborhoods

    Vox, a news website that concerns itself with energy and other issues, has a fine piece, including before and after images, on the history of the U.S. interstate system and why roads were built through the middle of cities (unless people of influence stopped them — see Manhattan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.)
    • Mar 22, 2016
  • Speaking of the Clinton Foundation: Returns in maize and beans

    A reporter for Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization, sent a reporter to Africa to see where money given to the Clinton Foundation has been put to work. He found tangible results.
    • Sep 6, 2016
  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: ISIS hacks Arkansas librarians

    • I dont really know much about hacking after so many tries i met cleverhacker.hack@gmail.com who…

    • on August 18, 2017
  • Re: Friday's open line

    • rKen$aw looking at red-light cameras. But for our safety dontcha know, not for revenue. "Arkansas…

    • on August 18, 2017
  • Re: Friday's open line

    • STATUE OF JOHN CALVIN ASSAULTED, TORN DOWN BY ANGRY MOB [Warning: Satire] http://babylonbee.com/news/mob-angry-armin……

    • on August 18, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation