Pine Bluff City Council Moves One Step Closer to Allowing Public Drinking

Yesterday the Pine Bluff Commercial reported the Pine Bluff City Council’s Development and Planning Committee recently voted to permit public drinking in the city’s outdoor entertainment district.

The entire city council must vote on the measure in order to approve it.

Earlier this year the Arkansas Legislature narrowly passed Act 812 by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover). The act lets cities create “entertainment districts” where alcohol can be carried and consumed publicly on streets and sidewalks.

The Pine Bluff proposal reportedly would allow public drinking in from 2nd Avenue to 4th Avenue and State Street to Main.

As we have said before, entertainment districts raise serious concerns about public safety.

Cities like Memphis and New Orleans have had significant problems with violence in their entertainment districts, and public drinking and intoxication also raise concerns about drunk driving in surrounding neighborhoods.

If we really want to improve our communities, letting people drink on city streets and sidewalks simply is not the way to do it.

Recreational Marijuana Would Harm Arkansans

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

On Tuesday activists in Arkansas announced plans to propose measures legalizing recreational marijuana in Arkansas, letting Arkansans grow marijuana at home, and letting a criminal convicted of a low-level marijuana offense petition a court for expungement of the conviction.

Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement saying, “There’s nothing safe about marijuana. People are killed every day in marijuana-related car accidents in this country. Children in Colorado, California, and other states where marijuana is legal have been hospitalized after getting ahold of an adult’s marijuana. In Alabama, a toddler recently died in a hot car while his parents allegedly were passed out under the influence of marijuana. Legalizing recreational marijuana will put Arkansans at risk.”

Cox said legalization will not end the illegal sale of marijuana. “Legalizing marijuana doesn’t eliminate the black market for marijuana. In Colorado, people still buy and sell marijuana illegally all the time so they can avoid paying taxes. Drug dealers buy marijuana in states like Colorado or California so they can sell it illegally in other states.”

Cox said recreational marijuana ultimately will cost taxpayers. “The taxes on marijuana can’t possibly cover all the cost to the taxpayer. This measure will require the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control Division to spend public funds overseeing recreational marijuana sales and use in Arkansas. The measure lets people grow marijuana at home. Every law enforcement agency in Arkansas from the county sheriff to the state police will have to spend time and money making sure folks growing marijuana at home aren’t selling it to their neighbors. Taxpayers are the ones who will have to foot that bill.”

Family Council is a conservative education and research organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas.