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Paul Krugman, that card, once said predictions are hard, especially about the future. His writing may not be intentionally funny, but when an economist writes, you take the giggles where you can find them.

It didn't take a clairvoyant to understand that the medical marijuana people all those years ago really just wanted a foothold in Arkansas. And the next item on their agenda would be recreational pot.

That's how they got there in other states. See Colorado, Nevada, the left coast states. First go to the voters with this plaintive argument: Just give the sick some comfort, will ya? You can't want to take away their only freedom from pain or distress.

Then, once voters fall for it, you go to them for full legalization.

When Arkansas' voters were being courted by the medical marijuana crowd back in 2015-16, one spokesman for a pro-dope outfit let the truth slip. It was dutifully reported in Arkansas' Newspaper. He said, as far as the budding industry of marijuana was concerned, his people would work to decriminalize it eventually, but through "incremental change."

One step at a time. And the first step was medical marijuana.

So it should come as no surprise to see the headlines from last week. Now they're pushing for a vote on recreational pot in Arkansas. Emphasis on pushing.

Arkansas is a scorchingly populist state. That's how voters here are able to elect and re-elect Asa Hutchinson, Tim Griffin and Leslie Rutledge, and then vote for medical marijuana, raising the minimum wage, etc. Voters in these parts hire politicians. They don't always listen to them.

Which is why for all the conservative groups and politicians condemning recreational marijuana, it's going to be hard to predict any vote, especially one in the future.

More from the papers: "A longtime medical-marijuana advocate said Tuesday that she'll make a push to get on the 2020 ballot a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Arkansas. Melissa Fults, executive director of the Drug Policy Education Group, said she plans to file two proposed constitutional amendments with the secretary of state's office this afternoon, so that she may begin gathering signatures for the 2020 ballot."

Two proposed constitutional amendments? Yes.

One to legalize pot. The other is called the Arkansas Marijuana Expungement Amendment, which would allow people with convictions for small amounts of marijuana to petition a court for expungement of the record. So not only would these folks legalize weed, but make it retroactive!

Can it happen here? You're darned right it can. Some of us never dreamed that Arkansas voters would approve medical marijuana, yet the dispensaries are opening all over. Any day now we'll see advertising on TV: Mary Jane's blowout sale!

Asa Hutchinson seems to have the same concerns that a lot of us have--and have had. According to Hunter Field's report the other day, the governor, on hearing the latest, told a luncheon: "I do not believe it is the right direction to go for Arkansas, so I would encourage you, don't sign that petition, don't support that initiative. Let's make sure we get the medicinal marijuana right and let's hold the line and the distinction on that point."

But that's never been the goal. The objective has been complete legalization of marijuana from the beginning. Those pushing legal dope always knew that. And sometimes even said it.

All the "incremental" steps have just been smoke and mirrors. With a lot more smoke than mirrors.

Editorial on 07/15/2019

Print Headline: Just another step


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Archived Comments

  • BillMurray
    July 15, 2019 at 9:06 a.m.

    We are poor. This will give the state LOTS of money, especially if we're the first in our region to do it. Also, it reduces crime and, in the long run, reduces drug-use rates for minors.


    ADG Editorial Staff, grow up.

  • Seitan
    July 15, 2019 at 9:29 a.m.

    "... dispensaries are opening all over." After 2 1/2 years, we have, like, six? You ought to be focusing your energy on the ineptitude of Arkansas government. Dear Editorialist, your inner drama queen is showing. Put down your third martini of the morning, quit slanting the issue with misinformation, and grow up. If you can't trust the people, why should we trust you?

  • GeneralMac
    July 15, 2019 at 9:40 a.m.

    This editorial was spot on.......... BINGO !

    The biggest advocates for MEDICAL marijuana were NOT those suffering.

    It was those that knew if you get your " foot in the door" RECREATIONAL marijuana can follow in a couple years.

  • Jfish
    July 15, 2019 at 9:48 a.m.

    Yes, but won't people be coming off the disability rolls in droves once this miracle drug is fully dispensed?

  • RBolt
    July 15, 2019 at 9:49 a.m.

    What generally happens is medical cannabis wins on the merits over the knee-jerk objections of those long indoctrinated by decades of governmental propaganda in the "War on Drugs." The voting population observes the results, performs a risk/benefit analysis, and eventually opts for recreational marijuana as well. This is not complicated. Those in the alcohol-or-nothing crowd can continue to drown their anguish in a bottle, wake up hungover in their puddles of urine and vomit, and toast the glorious memories of throwing hippies under the jail. Meanwhile, the recreational cannabis users who overindulge will have a snack, take a nap, and wake up feeling fine with an intact liver and clean sheets. Live and let live.

  • Seitan
    July 15, 2019 at 9:54 a.m.

    RBOLT. That was awesome.

  • RBolt
    July 15, 2019 at 10:05 a.m.

    Thanks, seitan, but it seems like an obvious reality to any open-minded person not obsessed with looking only in their own bottles for everyone else's recreational drug of choice.

  • 23cal
    July 15, 2019 at 10:10 a.m.

    Mr. Reefer Madness Editor is at it again in his unending war against modernity.

    Regarding "See Colorado, Nevada, the left coast states." Well, yes....let's DO take a look at them and se what we see.
    If this were the scourge Mr. Reefer Madness Editor continues to claim it is, at least some of these states would have figured out by now that legalization of cannabis wasn't in their best interest, and would be falling all over themselves in their haste to fix the problem through repeal.
    But, they haven't. Not a single one . Not a single one has even made an attempt.

    Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have passed laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. How many of these are racing to repeal these laws?
    Zero. None. Nary a one.
    Allow me to suggest that is because they, unlike Mr. Reefer Madness Editor, can see what works well for their states and the citizens thereof and don't want to shoot themselves in the foot for backward and ignorant ideological bias rooted in old wives' tales and 1930s movies such as Reefer Madness.
    About "It didn't take a clairvoyant to understand that the medical marijuana people all those years ago really just wanted a foothold in Arkansas." Some of them did and some people for medical marijuana weren't in favor of recreational cannabis or just didn't care. Count on Mr. Reefer Madness Editor to lump them all together anyway and try to demonize them all as dishonest and tricky. "What else could you expect from such awful people (GASPS, clutches pearls!)
    Regarding "Then, once voters fall for it, you go to them for full legalization."
    If the sky didn't fall as predicted by the Reefer Madness crowd, if all of the fear mongering turned out to be nothing but baseless empty paranoiac alarmist scare tactics with no foundation in reality, then the states will move on to pass recreational. That is EXACTLY what has happened eleven times and other states are lining up to follow.
    Chicken Little and Reefer Madness are a sad combination on an editorial page.

  • Seitan
    July 15, 2019 at 10:10 a.m.

    RBOLT. Agreed, hence my martini remark. These editorialists have recommended recreational drinking on a regular basis while blinded by their reefer-madness obsession. Plus they clearly do not even care about Arkansawyers in prison over a drug less harmful than alcohol or prescription pills.

  • GeneralMac
    July 15, 2019 at 10:13 a.m.

    RBOLT mentions " recreation".

    I've never heard beer drinkers or cigarette smokers label it as " recreational "

    Seems nearly every " recreational " activity soon has competition, leagues formed, tennis, bowling, fishing tournaments, 5k races

    Will there be pot smoking teams/leagues formed also ?