So, like, what’s left to argue about here?
Now, Michael, I think you’re forgetting that I was actually on your side on this one.
Back in 2016, when this was first proposed to go on the ballot, I agreed with you that it was a bad idea. We both thought that there were enough problems with drugs like meth and opioids that any expansion of drug use, especially one being done under the auspices of legalizing an illegal substance, was a bad idea. And we both agreed that there were enough problems in the workforce and on the streets without adding thousands of pot smokers to the mix.
Where we came to a sticking point was whether or not the measure would pass. I was sure it would, even though I was not on board with the idea. You thought the good people of Arkansas would vote it down. These were your people, Michael. These were the same voters who elected a Republican-majority House and Senate, gave us an all-Republican Congressional class (all four U.S. Representatives and both U.S. Senators). You and your fellow conservatives put Republicans in all seven State Constitutional officers (from governor on down).
But where were those conservative values when it came time to vote down this reefer madness bill? I guess they let you down.
It turns out, a lot of folks were just fine with legalizing medical marijuana. Now, why would that be the case?
Well, Michael, I think you hit the nail on the head — MONEY.
And it’s no surprise that the cash cow is chewing that green leafy goodness all the way to the bank. It’s already a million-dollar-a-month industry and those numbers are going to increase exponentially as more dispensaries open in the next few months, including not one, not two, but three right here in West Memphis. I don’t know where your numbers came from, but if we’re really going to have around 40,000 card-carrying medical marijuana users in Arkansas in the very near future, that’s more than one percent of the population.
That might not sound like a lot, but that means, just as an example, if you go to a local high school football game and there are 500 people in the stands, six or seven of them (statistically speaking) will have licenses to carry and consume pot. Now, they can’t smoke it at the game, but they can certainly toke up in the parking lot.
Now, you did get me on one thing in this issue. You said it would be no time at all before the wacky weed aficionados would be clamoring for the full legalization of marijuana for recreational use. I really didn’t thing that idea would get much traction. Mostly because for all of my kidding, I really do think the fine folks in Arkansas lean toward a more conservative philosophy.
And while up until recently, I never would have thought it would happen, it’s pretty clear that’s where all of this is going. And as much as I don’t like it, the truth is, it’s really not much different than what we’ve already got with alcohol and tobacco. Both of those items are clearly dangerous and addictive, but we’ve allowed both to exist and be socially accepted forever.
We just tax them heavily, sit back and collect the revenue, all the while the rich get richer and the poor pay the taxes.
Hey, that sounds just like what we’ve been talking about here, right? Turns out you were right all along.