Chris Jones believes that now is the time for Arkansas to develop a just and equitable cannabis industry that encourages economic growth, funds education programs, and will protect police officers and citizens alike.
Chris Jones favors the legalization of recreational cannabis, which would generate tax revenue for educational programs and expunge nonviolent felony and misdemeanor cannabis convictions. The resources that have gone into law enforcement and convictions could then be refocused to preventing and handling serious crimes.
Legalizing cannabis would also allow for economic development and early movement into a rapidly growing industry. Development now would allow expansion of existing agricultural education programs using federal funds and support Arkansas farmers in solidifying their presence in this industry. These actions would also protect existing medical cannabis farmers and business owners, and ensure that the economic benefits from this industry remains in Arkansas and for Arkansans.
In Arkansas, legalizing recreational cannabis would create substantial tax revenue for the state. As seen in other states who have legalized cannabis, billions of dollars have been made and allocated to programs and grants addressing education, health, and more. As Governor, Chris Jones would have the state manage and collect the funds raised by taxing, licensing, and other fee revenue from the cannabis industry. These funds would be allocated to education programs including preschool for all, youth literacy, develop trade certification programs, and college scholarships.
Legalizing cannabis means allowing the production and consumption of marijuana, but it also means expunging criminal records related to marijuana. People should not spend the rest of their lives paying for crimes related to cannabis, and then, law enforcement can focus on more serious crimes. Unjust marijuana policies disproportionately impact Black, Brown, and low-income Arkansans. A just and equitable cannabis industry is imperative for both social and economic progress in our state.
To create a more just and equitable cannabis industry, Chris Jones would:
Work with lawmakers in the state legislature to ensure legalization of recreational cannabis and the establishment of an education fund.
Allocate revenue to Arkansas’ education programs though the taxes on cannabis.
Enhance and expand existing training programs to increase economic revenue for Arkansas’s farmers
Equip Arkansas’ law enforcement to refocus resources to more serious crimes.
Fight to prevent undue harm from coming to more Black, Brown, and low-income communities in the criminal justice system.