Lawmakers respect voters, except when they don't: See marijuana | Arkansas Blog

Friday, November 18, 2016

Lawmakers respect voters, except when they don't: See marijuana

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 5:02 PM

Republican legislators invoked the will of the voter regularly, but if you watch closely, it's only when they AGREE with the will of the voter.

Republicans, with the possible exception of Sen. Jon Woods, lined up against the medical marijuana proposal (and he stayed quiet until after passage, then claimed credit). Now that it's law, they have all kinds of idea about upsetting the constitutionally mandated rules for providing medical marijuana in the state.

40/29 reports that Sen. Bart Hester wants to raise an additional tax on marijuana. No, not to pay for pre-K. Not to give teachers better health insurance. Not to pay for burgeoning prison costs. Not to pay for highway construction. Not to provide educational adequacy. But to give another tax cut.

Rep. Doug House wants to delay implementation.

They love you voters, except when they disagree with your vote.

It will take a two-thirds vote of the legislature to amend the pot amendment, which applies state and local sales taxes to marijuana sales and directs the money this way: 5% to the Department of Health, 2% to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration Division, 2% to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Division, 1% to the Medical Marijuana Commission, 10% to the Skills Development Fund, 50% to the Vocational and Technical Training Special Revenue Fund, and 30% to the General Revenue Fund.

The amendment also sets out the timetable for implementation and it will require a two-thirds vote to change that.

Other forces are at work hoping to otherwise damage the amendment, approved by 53 percent of voters.

UPDATE: Comment from David Couch, who worked to pass amendment:

"I understand that they want to extend the deadline for the department of health and ABC to make rules from 120 days to 180 and this should not cause any delay as the key to starting is the licensing of the dispensaries. They want to push application deadline with commission from June 1 to July 1 to coincide with fiscal year. I don't view that as a significant delay. Senator Hester wants to tax sick people to pay for a wealthy individual's income tax cut and this is outrageous. "

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