Little Rock police demands recreational marijuana group remove ad depicting officers

Responsible Growth Arkansas declines, saying ad doesn’t ID officers nor imply endorsement

By: - October 12, 2022 11:08 am

(Getty Images)

The City of Little Rock last week sent a cease-and-desist letter to the group sponsoring Arkansas’ recreational marijuana ballot initiative demanding the group take down an ad the city said depicted Little Rock police officers.

Responsible Growth Arkansas in a response Friday declined to remove the ad and disagreed that it contained any insignia or logo that identified the Little Rock Police Department.

The medical marijuana industry-backed group has been running television ads to support the campaign to pass Issue 4 on Nov. 8. It has also posted an ad on the homepage of its website.

“Unfortunately, at least one of the advertisements has portions which show Little Rock police officers,” City Attorney Tom Carpenter wrote. “Neither the City, nor the Little Rock Police Department has endorsed this effort. The film footage being used is from training films that were created to attract persons to join the police force. The Department has received inquiries as to why it is supporting this constitutional amendment when, in fact, it is not.”

 

LRPD Cease & Desist Letter to RGAr

 

The ad includes footage of a police vehicle and several shots of police officers, but it is difficult to tell what agency they represent.

Responsible Growth emphasized its support for law enforcement, but it declined to remove the ad, saying it did not imply an endorsement from LRPD.

“As for the ad in question, we have reviewed it and do not see any insignia, logo or other identification of the Little Rock Police Department – or any other law enforcement agency, for that matter,” attorney Erika Gee wrote. “Moreover, the video used in creation of the advertisement was taken from public sources which presented no claim that the video is protected from public use. As such, we see no legal basis for the demand that RGA cease and desist from further use of this video.”

 

RGA Response to Tom Carpenter 10. 7.22

 

Responsible Growth has portrayed its proposal as pro-police. The amendment’s primary purpose is to legalize cannabis for adult use, but it would also direct a portion of the tax revenue to law enforcement.

Carpenter didn’t immediately respond to a question Wednesday morning about whether the city would take further legal action.

What would the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment do?

  • Allow those 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use, beginning March 8.
  • Issue eight “Tier 1” cultivation licenses to the existing medical marijuana cultivators in Arkansas.
  • Issue 12 “Tier 2” cultivation licenses, which would be allowed to grow no more than 250 mature plants at a time.
  • Issue 120 adult use dispensary licenses. The first 80 licenses would be granted to the current 40 medical marijuana dispensaries.

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Hunter Field, Arkansas Advocate
Hunter Field, Arkansas Advocate

Hunter Field is a veteran Arkansas journalist whose reporting on the state has carried him from military air strips in northwest Arkansas to soybean fields in the Arkansas delta. He spent the better part of the last decade investigating and reporting on Arkansas government and politics. For three years, he covered education policy, medical marijuana and the Arkansas General Assembly as part of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Capitol Bureau. Most recently, he was the Democrat-Gazette's projects editor, leading the newspaper's investigative team. Hunter got his start in journalism covering sports for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. A Memphis native, he enjoys smoking barbecue, kayaking and fishing in his free time.

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