Pubdate: Tue, 01 Nov 2016
Source: Sentinel-Record, The (AR)
Copyright: 2016 The Sentinel-Record, Inc.
Author: Terri L. Harris
Page: 11A


Dear editor:

With all of the political rhetoric in the spotlight during this
election season, it is sometimes difficult to realize how blessed we
are to be Arkansans and how important our choices are - not only in
our selection of individuals we will choose to lead and represent us,
but also in determining the ballot initiatives we choose to oppose or

On Nov. 8, when you go vote, there will be issues on your ballot that
change our Constitution or modify our laws. One of those, Issue 6,
relates to legalizing marijuana. Issue 6 is being advertised and
marketed to you as marijuana for medical use; however, this is a big

Issue 6 would legalize the use of marijuana or cannabis with little or
no oversight and place our economy, our businesses, our schools and
our communities at risk. While pretending to be "medicine," these
measures would allow many things that might strike the conscience of
an educated voter.

Under Issue 6, employees - like school bus drivers, teachers, police
officers, surgeons, truck drivers, construction workers, automobile
mechanics and all others - would be permitted to be under the
influence of marijuana with a simple doctor's note. It allows
marijuana to be legal in any form - including mixed in with candy,
soft drinks and other foods that would be marketed to children and
teens. Not only that, there are zero restrictions on advertising
marijuana products. Marijuana would be much easier to obtain and abuse
for our young people than alcohol or tobacco and marijuana growers
would be permitted to directly advertise to our children.

Adolescent marijuana use is linked to impaired school performance and
increased dropout rates. Teens who use marijuana are at significant
risk of permanent cognitive impairment. One in six of those who use
marijuana as teenagers become addicted.

Under ballot Issue 6, with a simple note from a guardian, children and
teens can use marijuana.

Marijuana causes birth defects in babies, which means our society will
see an increase in the number of Arkansas babies with developmental
delay, disabilities and more of our school kids will have behavioral
health issues.

While pretending to be "medicine," legalized marijuana under ballot
Issue 6 would not be subject to the same scrutiny and safety protocols
that real pharmaceuticals must endure. For example, a real
prescription from your doctor requires instructions for use and a
label with information like appropriate dosage, the strength of the
medicine and any warnings related to use of the drug. None of those
requirements exist for marijuana. The marijuana obtained under these
initiatives will be no different from marijuana illegally obtained
from a drug dealer.

Be smart. Recognize that choices voting No on Issue 6 are not "against
medical marijuana," nor is it against seeking solutions for our
neighbors who are suffering. In fact, a vote No protects our children,
our society, our employees and our economy. Join me in protecting our
communities. Vote No on ballot Issue 6.

Terri L. Harris Prosecuting attorney Project director 18th Judicial
District East Drug Task Force
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