Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Action Joins Local Residents to Establish “Protect Arkansas Kids” Committee to Oppose the State’s Marijuana Commercialization Ballot Measure

(LITTLE ROCK, AR) – Protect Arkansas Kids, a committee established by local residents and the nation’s foremost organization dedicated to a health-first approach to marijuana policy, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Action, launched today to challenge the misguided ballot measure being pushed by pot profiteers and their allies in Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol. 

Big Marijuana is currently advancing a radical expansion of the state’s so-called medical marijuana program that could lead to full-scale commercialization of the industry and nearly unfettered access to high-potency marijuana and THC drugs. The measure also seeks to enact triggers that would automatically legalize marijuana and THC drugs in the state if the federal government removes marijuana from the controlled substance list or eliminates possession as a crime. 

“Scientists and physicians have made it clear that marijuana isn’t medicine, a position affirmed by the FDA. This ballot initiative, with its limitless number of qualifying medical ‘conditions,’ dramatic expansion of potential ‘prescribers,’ and the removal of prohibitions against sales of pipes, bongs, and other products, proves the term ‘medical’ is a farce,” said Luke Niforatos, a spokesperson for Protect Arkansas Kids.

“The marijuana industry already relies on its kid-friendly THC-laced candies, sodas, cookies, gummies, and other products that can have 99 percent potency to make a profit. That will only get worse if they are able to pass this new ballot measure. Today’s high-potency marijuana and THC drugs are medically and scientifically linked to lower IQ, psychosis, depression, suicidality, motor impairment, and schizophrenia, among other consequences. This industry isn’t about healthy living or helping people. It’s a way to prey on more people with dangerous, psychoactive substances,” Niforatos said.

The marijuana industry has until July 5 to gather signatures from registered voters in the state to put the amendment to a statewide vote in the November 5 general election.

“The industry has a history of preying on young people, low-income communities, and communities of color, a pattern it will unquestionably replicate if this ballot measure advances. We won’t stand by and wait for the Big Tobacco of the next generation. Everyone deserves a future free from addiction and Arkansas’ children need protection from those who seek to profit from encumbering their future with drugs,” Niforatos stated.