Reefer Madness continues at the Capitol | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Reefer Madness continues at the Capitol

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 10:11 AM

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The legislature's Joint Performance Review Committee is to hear from Hutchinson administration officials this afternoon about the potential "impact" of the two medical marijuana measures on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Speakers will come from the Health Department, which would have regulatory authority over the procedure established in the initiated act, which sets up nonprofit dispensaries, and from Alcoholic Beverage Control, which would regulate for-profit dispensaries set up by the constitutional amendment. Other speakers include a representative from the Department of Finance and Administration and Col. Bill Bryant, director of the State Police.

No documents are available on-line on the presentations, but I think it safe to expect  predictions of dramatic and damaging impact on the state, given the talking points already being regularly pressed by the Hutchinson administration. More burdens on agencies and so forth. I will be interested in the estimate of revenue from the tax that would be applied on sales under the amendment. There's ample experience in other states as a benchmark — marijuana has been legalized for medical use in half the states.

Speaking of medical marijuana: The Arkansas Supreme Court issued opinions today but they did not include a finding on a pending question: Whether the initiated act's signatures were sufficient to qualify the measure for the ballot. A special master has issued a favorable finding, but the Supreme Court gets the last word. It has cleared both measures as to the form of their ballot titles.

PS: A reader notes:

Support for Legal Marijuana Use Up to 60% in U.S. ("With voters in several states deciding this fall whether to legalize the use of marijuana, public support for making it legal has reached 60% — its highest level in Gallup's 47-year trend.")
National polls don't necessarily mean anything in Arkansas. See: Donald Trump.

UPDATE: No surprise. AP report on legislature says state officials claim both proposals will cost double what they will raise in taxes, about $2.5 million in either case. Guess what? We spend more on legislative salaries and benefits than providing comfort to sick people will cost and nobody complains about that. At least nobody in the legislature does.

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