By Claire Ala
It’s pretty ironic the natural state failed to jump on the marijuana bandwagon. A medical marijuana victory was not celebrated due to the 51.4 percent of Arkansas voters who were against the legalization of medical marijuana. Nevertheless, it’s a surprisingly close percentage for a Bible-belt state.
More progressive states like Colorado and Washington showed huge development in the marijuana movement this election.
Colorado and Washington had already implemented medical marijuana usage, but this election enough voters said yes to recreational use — 54.8 percent in Colorado and 55.4 percent in Washington. This is a major step for the marijuana revolution, but it’s not set in stone. The federal government still considers marijuana an illegal drug, so implementing the new law is going to be a long ordeal.
While these states are celebrating their move forward in the fight to legalize marijuana use, Arkansas will be once again left behind because of misinformation fed to people who thrive in the old, traditional ways and fear change. Luckily, the 48.6 percent of Arkansas voters who said yes to medical marijuana were able to look past negative marijuana connotations and see the good this plant provides.
“It could save money and create a lot of revenue for the state of Arkansas that could go to more important things like public schools,” Kate Watkins, a senior at the UA explained.
Marijuana would be treated just like alcohol. If it were made legal it would be taxed and distributed legally — this would have numerous positive effects on the economy. Most importantly, medical marijuana would be a savior for people suffering from painful illnesses and diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS, arthritis and glaucoma. Suffice to say, the booming pharmaceutical industry has way too much power over the medical arena and can stand to share the wealth.
Besides accepting synthetic forms of THC — the intoxicating chemical found in marijuana — many Arkansans ignore the benefits of this drug. A lot of people want to do the moral thing, yet cannot accept a natural plant as a powerful, remedy drug.
“I know that the Arkansas Family Council denounced it so most of the people who were against it were doing it for moral reasons,” Binish Lone, a senior at the UA stated.
The Family Council Action Committee was a huge opponent against medical marijuana in Arkansas.
According to their website, “the Family Council Action Committee is dedicated to promoting, protecting, and strengthening traditional family values through the political process … ensuring the confirmation of conservative judicial nominees, protecting the Arkansas Marriage Amendment, fighting the effort to legalize ‘medical’ marijuana.”
More people need to open their minds to the fact the moral thing to do would have been to legalize medical marijuana, or else Arkansas is going to be — once again — stuck in the dark ages. This isn’t the last election, so don’t let this upset stop the campaign. Let’s keep spreading the word of the benefits of marijuana, both medical and recreational.