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Group plans to push recreational marijuana ballot measure

Group plans to push recreational marijuana ballot measure


LITTLE ROCK — A citizens group has announced they plan to attempt to make recreational marijuana in Arkansas a reality.

According to a report from Little Rock TV station KATV, the Drug Policy Education group plans to file two ballot petitions this week with Secretary of State John Thurston. The first amendment, the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment, AAUCA, would allow marijuana to be legalized, taxed and regulated.

Dispensaries could start selling recreational marijuana to those over the age of 21 on Dec. 4, 2020.

The second amendment, Arkansas Marijuana Expungement Amendment, AMEA, would allow those convicted of low-level marijuana crimes to petition the court to have the charges expunged.

After the announcement, the Arkansas Family Council Group condemned the efforts to legalize recreational marijuana.

“There’s nothing safe about marijuana,” Jerry Cox, Family Council President, said.

“People are killed every day in marijuana-related car accidents in this country. Children in Colorado, California, and other states where marijuana is legal have been hospitalized after getting a hold of an adult’s marijuana. In Alabama, a toddler recently died in a hot car while his parents allegedly were passed out under the influence of marijuana. Legalizing recreational marijuana will put Arkansans at risk.”


Mississippi bans swimming at all Gulf beaches because of blue-green algae bloom

PASCAGOULA, Miss. — All of Mississippi’s 21 Gulf Coast beaches have been closed to swimming because of an expanding toxic bluegreen algae bloom.

The final two beaches that had remained open to swimming, Pascagoula Beach West and Pascagoula Beach East, were closed on Sunday, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced.

Visitors can still use the beaches, the MDEQ said, but they should avoid contact with the water. The blue-green algae, known as cyanobacteria, can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

The cyanobacteria has been caused, in part, by the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway, 27 miles upriver from New Orleans. For the first time in the spillway’s 90-year history, it has been opened twice because of flooding in the Mississippi River.

The governors of Mississippi and Louisiana have asked for disaster declarations because of the damage done to their states’ fishing industries by the flooding. The flow of fresh water reduces salinity, making it difficult for oysters to survive. The runoff also is rich in nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, that causes the cyanobacteria to bloom. The blooms deplete oxygen in the water, creating a “dead zone” that can result in fish kills and other devastating effects.

So far, the levels of cyanobacteria being detected off Mississippi beaches have not reached toxic levels, the Clarion Ledger reported. Still, state officials are advising against eating fish or other seafood from water where the bloom is present.

The National Park Service said beaches along the barrier islands that are part of the National Seashore have not been affected by the algae blooms.


JACKSON, Tenn. — Federal prosecutors say a Tennessee man has been sentenced to life in prison for distributing large amounts of methamphetamine.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Jackson, Tennessee, said in a news release Tuesday that 58-year-old Rolando Lopez and several other co-defendants trafficked meth, heroin, marijuana and other illegal drugs from Mexico to Tennessee. Prosecutors argued that it was the largest drug trafficking organization known to have been prosecuted within the Western District of Tennessee.

Investigators said Lopez and others converted liquid methamphetamine into powder form. Prosecutors said the drug ring distributed thousands of pounds of meth in west Tennessee.

During the investigation, authorities twice seized vehicles containing meth that was being brought into Tennessee. Prosecutors say investigators used wiretaps, confidential sources, traffic stops, and search warrants to investigate the organization.

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