In Arkansas, organizations set up to assist business people and farmers in navigating and succeeding in the market place have joined forces to hobble small businesses and farmers by choosing to erect barriers to the marketplace.
Arkansans will be able to vote on two initiatives regarding medical cannabis on this year’s ballot in Arkansas.
Strange as it may seem, and contradicting the stated mission of these private membership organizations, the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to block our nation’s most lucrative cash crop, cannabis, from entering the marketplace in that state.
Ostensibly, these two organizations, which have previously been faithful advocates for farmers and small businessmen, would be expected to encourage and lionize the entry of cannabis as a legal product into the Arkansas commerce marketplace, given these groups’ historical support of the manufacturers and sellers all products, irrespective of how dangerous they may be, including the dangerous and addictive products sold by the tobacco and liquor industries.
In the case of the product cannabis, these organizations would be expected to be on the forefront of lobbying for legal cannabis in Arkansas because of the remarkable success for businessmen, farmers and taxing authorities that legal cannabis has been in the states where it is legal, Oregon, Colorado and Washington.
In OR, the state received $14.9 million in tax benefits from the sale of $60 million worth of legal cannabis in it’s first year of sales. And in CO, legal cannabis sales have brought in over $1 billion in sales since 2014 providing tax revenues of $135 million to the cash strapped state in 2015 alone, $35 million of which is targeted by law to fund Colorado’s schools.
The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation’s Stanley Hill, vice president of public affairs and government relations, said the potential recognition of the medical benefits of cannabis could “be detrimental to the entire economy of the state in our opinion.”
Rather than supporting the creation of a multi-million dollar market place for legal medical cannabis in Arkansas, the Chamber and Farm Bureau have called for simply ignoring the lucrative successes in CO, OR and WA and slamming the door shut for Arkansan businesses and farmers.