JONESBORO — If True Grass Arkansas has its way, Arkansans will be seeing green in their future.
True Grass Arkansas is collecting signatures to get an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution passed by voters in 2022 to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.
Briana Boling, a spokeswoman for True Grass Arkansas, said the organization has collected more than 20,000 signatures of registered voters so far. She said 89,151 are needed to get the measure on the November 2022 ballot.
“I’m feeling optimistic about it,” Boling said. “I think there’s a good chance it’ll be on the ballot.”
She said her organization is completely staffed by volunteers and runs on donations.
According to its website, “Arkansas True Grass is a grass-roots movement to legalize cannabis in Arkansas. We support the cultivation and legalization of the cannabis plant for all purposes. We sponsor a Recreational Marijuana Amendment, an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that will legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational purposes, and one that will set the captives free and clear all nonviolent marijuana offenses.”
Boling said legalizing recreational marijuana could help people who are addicted to opioids, even though the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t approve of marijuana as being helpful for that addiction.
“I think it would do more good than harm,” she said. “A lot of good could come out of it.”
Boling said more than 60 businesses across the state are collecting signatures for the measure.
One of those businesses is Emerald Triangle, which has stores on Main Street and Parker Road in Jonesboro and one in Brookland.
Richard Johnston, owner of of Emerald Triangle, said he has “a couple hundred” of signatures on petitions in his stores.
“Medical marijuana has tons of support,” he said. “We’ve seen a reduction in alcohol abuse.”
Johnston said there are a lot of supplements not approved by the FDA being sold in stores and he sees recreational marijuana as a aide to other addictions.
He added that legalizing marijuana would take some of the strain off law enforcement and add taxes to the state.
Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said Thursday that he’s not ready to voice an opinion on legalizing recreational marijuana before looking at all the facts regarding it.
Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd is against recreational marijuana.
“I do not support it,” he said. “We’ve seen too many accidents involving marijuana use.”
Boyd said the lack of a way to test drivers’ sobriety concerning marijuana use is problematic for him. He said there have been problems in states that allow recreational marijuana such as Colorado.