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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

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

    SEITAN.....what percentage of people in prison are there ONLY for USE of marijuana?

    Buying/ selling /possession of a gun NOT included in count .

  • Seitan
    July 15, 2019 at 10:16 a.m.

    GM. There are plenty of "recreational" drinking games and competitions out there. Stop being so stupid.

  • Seitan
    July 15, 2019 at 10:22 a.m.

    GM. What does the percentage matter? There shouldn't be anyone in prison over cannabis. One is too many.

  • GeneralMac
    July 15, 2019 at 10:25 a.m.

    " one is too many"

    Save that argument when a " usual suspect" claims ILLEGALS commit crimes at a lower rate than citizens.

  • RBolt
    July 15, 2019 at 10:27 a.m.

    Fortunately, Doug, the rest of us are not limited to realities of which you have heard. The world is a bigger place than the fetid space inside your echoing head.

  • Seitan
    July 15, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.

    Gm. And it is not just a matter of going to prison. Possession of cannabis convictions follow people around for life, which is why Illinois' new law "offers relief to the roughly 770,000 residents of the state with marijuana-related offenses on their criminal records." I don't know how many Arkansawyers have such convictions on their records, but I would guess it is, conservatively, in the tens of thousands.

  • 23cal
    July 15, 2019 at 10:38 a.m.

    About "So not only would these folks legalize weed, but make it retroactive!"
    Makes sense. Sometimes the state makes poor laws and needs to recognize those times and ameliorate the damage caused by those misguided laws.
    Not surprised Mr. Reefer Madness Editor would have such a negative reaction to such a reasonable adult concept. Who cannot see that some poor sap shouldn't have a permanent record for indulging in smoking something which fat cats are now legally selling to become even richer?
    What possible benefit to society is it that a person busted for a couple of joints has that on his record for his entire lifetime? Where is the gain for the commonweal?

  • RBolt
    July 15, 2019 at 10:43 a.m.

    Great posts, 23cal and seitan. It must be tough for others when their primary counterargument has been to smash an egg with an iron skillet during commercial breaks on TV.

  • GeneralMac
    July 15, 2019 at 10:55 a.m.

    When prohibition ended, did all those arrested and convicted have their convictions erased?

    Many families where I lived had a family member serve 13 months in Leavenworth FEDERAL prison.

  • Seitan
    July 15, 2019 at 11:12 a.m.

    GM. So what's wrong with doing the right thing this time? Oh, and, actually a lot of people had their records cleared after prohibition. 13 months in prison is absurd. Are you proud of that?