Politician Info
D Asa Hutchinson (R - AR)

Holds office Governor

Position on Medical Marijuana

Arkansas voters passed a 2016 initiated measure legalizing medical cannabis access, but it took until 2019 before regulators approved the first applicants to operate medical marijuana dispensaries. By the end of the year, 12 dispensaries were operational in the state. The Governor, who historically has been opposed cannabis liberalization policies, opined that the state’s rollout of the new law was not unduly delayed. Rather, he said that the slow roll-out process was “measured” and that the law was implemented in a way that was “best for all Arkansans.” (Link)


“While some have complained that [implementing the medical cannabis program] has taken too long, the commission took the time it needed to get this right.” (Link) 2019

Hutchinson, the former head of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, said he was concerned about the costs of regulation and enforcement if voters approve legalizing marijuana for patients. "You can imagine the enforcement issues, the regulatory issues that are involved in this," he said. "I do not see any tax boon to the state. I see more of a tax drain to the state. ...It will not help us in the direction we need to go in Arkansas in terms of increased economic success in this state." (9/28/16)

Governor Hutchinson claims that legalizing medical marijuana access in Arkansas would be a drain on the state's resources. (8/26/16) http://www.thecannabist.co/2016/08/26/arkansas-medical-marijuana-asa-hutchinson/61896/

He adds: "Our democracy is not going to fall if you legalize marijuana. But I think you have to ask yourself, what is the best thing for our country? And you can take two approaches to it. You can say, well, there's been some mistakes in past policy on marijuana enforcement, and so we ought to adjust those policies. And that's actually what's happening all across the country. It's such a small, miniscule percent, particularly for people who are in federal custody because of a marijuana possession offense. It just doesn't happen. So look at it: Texas, Arkansas, many states are looking at incarceration policy, making adjustments, and you've got to be a pretty serious drug offender in order to go to jail for, you know, breaking the law. And so you can adjust current policy, we've done it with drug treatment courts, we're putting more money in the treatment side, alternatives to incarceration, for those that have an addiction problem. That's the path I would like to see, if you see mistakes made, let's adjust those. And I think that's what Europe has done." (7/01/13) http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/07/asa-hutchinsons-small-government-case-for-marijuana-prohibition/277447/

"Let's think about what happens if you legalize marijuana all across this country. One, I think it would generate tax revenues. I'm on the conservative side, and there's a lot of libertarians who don't believe in strong government but support marijuana legalization. It's ironic to me that if you legalize marijuana, what are you going to create? A huge government bureaucracy. That's what's happening in Colorado. You've got to have licensing authority. You've got to have tax collection authority. You've got to have enforcement authority. So you're going to create a huge regulatory body in every state and the federal government if you legalize it across the board, to collect the taxes and to make sure the enforcement is there. Arkansas we have the Arkansas lottery scholarships, lottery money coming in which funds our scholarships. Well, we're going to be having pot scholarships, because you're going to have revenue coming in to generate it, and the public's going to sell it because you're gonna be able to send your kids with scholarships based upon marijuana tax revenue. You're going to have retail shops, you're going to have distribution, you're going to have cultivation, all highly regulated. That's the path we've got to go. I believe it would increase harm. So two paths you can take, and I believe the best one is keep it criminalized, keep it illegal conduct, but let's make the adjustments from lessons that we've learned over the last two decades." (7/01/13)

Contact Asa Hutchinson

Email: info@asaforgovernor.com

Web: https://www.flickr.com/photos/131231660@N04/sets/

Phone: 501-682-2345


State Capitol, Room 250 500 Woodlane Avenue

Little Rock, AR 72201

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