Two West Tenn. DAs urge Arkansas voters to approve recreational marijuana

Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 7:38 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County leaders are pleading for Arkansas residents to approve recreational marijuana in the state.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy and District Attorney Frederick Agee of District 28 say this measure will allow Arkansas law enforcement and those in Tennessee to focus on the real problem — violent crime.

The DAs held the bipartisan press conference with one goal:

“We are here to urge voters in Arkansas to vote yes on amendment four,” DA Steve Mulroy said.

Both DAs say it’s time to refocus on violent crime in Tennesse and they say, that starts with shifting away from marijuana convictions.

“For 50 years marijuana prohibition has been a failure in this country and Arkansas voters have an opportunity to right a wrong,” District Attorney Frederick Agee said.

“Why should people from West Tennessee care about this? Well, there’s a lot of connections... people are going back-and-forth between West Memphis and Memphis all the time,” DA Mulroy said.

If Issue 4 passes, Mulroy says Shelby County residents will cross the bridge to use marijuana.

He also says while Shelby County will follow the law, marijuana convictions are low on his priority list.

“At the end of the day, even locally sourced marijuana is not something that I think should be a high priority in terms of prosecutorial enforcement,” he said.

We also heard from a former Arkansas sheriff who now advocates for marijuana.

Lance Huey, who’s the vice chair for Responsible Growth Arkansas, says marijuana arrests take up resources that could be focused elsewhere.

“I know how much time it takes, how much money it takes. As a former county sheriff, I know the officers’ time that it takes. They deal with it every day. For someone to say I’m not going to vote for Issue 4 because I don’t want marijuana on the street, that’s just not a good argument,” Huey said.

Back in Shelby County, DA Mulroy says there have been 88 cases filed over the three last months; 176 have been dismissed or null processed since he took office.

“I think you know... here in the Volunteer State, we’re on the wrong side of history, and I think it’s only a matter of time... but it will happen eventually,” he said.

If Issue 4 passes, it’ll go into effect on March 8, 2023.

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