WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – In a letter before Walnut Ridge City Council Monday night, Williams Baptist College President Tom Jones called medical cannabis a “cancer.”
The President and CEO of WBC wrote the letter to the Mayor, Charles Snapp, which was circulated at the council meeting, and was among the harshest opponents of medical marijuana. He said he did not want to see the industry in the county, as it represented a detriment to the social fabric of the community.
Just a note to register the position of Williams Baptist College on the marijuana issue before the council meets this evening. We very much would disapprove of a facility to dispense or cultivate the drug in our City and would encourage the Council to discourage the establishment of such a business in our area,” Jones writes on behalf of the 4-year institution.
“Though the citizens of Arkansas have approved the marijuana initiative, we believe this allowance to be a detriment to the social fabric of our communities,” Jones continues. “To introduce the industry to Lawrence County would endorse and validate an immoral cancer effecting (sic) our economy, the quality of life for our children, and the positive growth of our region.
Thanks for letting me express our opinion. We appreciate you and the Council consideration in this matter.
Snapp said several businesses had made inquiries into the matter. NEA Report has the meeting live each month on our Facebook page.
NEA Report spoke with Jones by phone, who did not attend the meeting. He affirmed his position was opposed to medical marijuana.
“It’s an issue in our society that is kind of winked at,” Jones said. “I think it is a gateway drug. I think it does affect adults and that ends up affecting how they treat their children and it just carries on and on, no doubt.”
“I know there’s an opioid epidemic but I don’t know the technicalities behind that,” Jones said.
He said he was motivated to speak out against the possibility of medical cannabis in Lawrence County because he didn’t feel anyone else had.
“Apparently nobody had spoken against the fact of a possibility of a cultivation industry or dispensary coming to the county and it’s an opinion I clearly hold that marijuana is not a good drug for our community,” Jones said. “The detriments are clear in our community. There’s drug issues here like in the rest of the country and that doesn’t help.”
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Story by Stan Morris