Little Rock City Board Member Ken Richardson is proposing to make marijuana arrests the lowest possible police priority. This measure — which would effectively reduce marijuana possession to a citation — will save court and law enforcement resources while not needlessly punishing adults with jail time.
While attitudes on marijuana policy are changing all over the country, we can't rest now. In fact, Little Rock voted down a similar ordinance last year!
To find your Ward Director, please click here. Be sure to reach out to them before the meeting and let them know you support this proposed ordinance. (If Richardson is your board member, you can thank him for his leadership.)
Here are a couple of points you can make in support:
* Please support Board Member Richardson's proposal to cite, not jail, people for marijuana possession. Incarceration is a traumatic, disproportionate penalty for possessing marijuana.
* This measure would allow law enforcement to spend more time on crimes with victims, instead of wasting their time booking individuals for using a substance most Americans think should be legal.
You can also show up in person to demonstrate your support for this important measure:
What: Little Rock Board of Directors meeting
When: Tuesday, August 20 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Little Rock City Hall, 500 West Markham Street, Board of Directors' Chambers, 2nd floor
The city will vote on this next week and needs to hear from constituents beforehand. Reach out to your city board member today. If you or anyone you know is a resident of Little Rock, please let them know about the meeting and forward this email to them.
In March, an unsuccessful applicant sued the state, claiming that the Medical Marijuana Commission’s scoring process was flawed and that two of the commission’s members had conflicts of interest. The judge sided with the unsuccessful applicant, and the state’s rollout of the medical marijuana program was put on pause.
Yesterday, the Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a dispute over Arkansas’ medical marijuana program. The program has been stalled since lawsuits were filed over how licenses were awarded. We learned that one commissioner was even offered a bribe from a company seeking a cultivation license.
No matter who wins this case, it’s Arkansas patients who are losing out. We hope that these legal matters will be concluded in a timely matter so that patients may have access to the medicine they need.
In other disappointing news, the Little Rock Board of Directors voted down a proposal last Tuesday to make marijuana possession the lowest enforcement priority for law enforcement.
A Little Rock city director has proposed formally making misdemeanor marijuana offenses a “low priority” for city law enforcement officials. As Ward 2 City Director Ken Richardson highlighted, simple misdemeanor marijuana offenses can haunt an individual for life, making it harder to secure employment and higher education.
If you live in Little Rock, please contact your directors and ask that they support this commonsense reform. If you are unsure of your ward’s city director, please go here to find out which ward you live in. In addition to your ward director, be sure to also email the three at-large directors that represent the entire city. This proposal is a great step in the right direction and will help shape policies at the state level in Arkansas.
Unfortunately, Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner had issues with the wording of the proposal and claimed the police department already views misdemeanor marijuana offenses as a low priority. If this is true, City Director Richardson explains there is no harm in simply putting this policy in writing.
If you're a Little Rock resident, please take a few minutes to make sure the city directors know their constituents want Little Rock to make marijuana offenses a low enforcement priority. Then, please spread the word to others in Little Rock!