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Arky Cops Demand Legalization Campaign Hush About Measure Funding Cops

Responsible Growth Arkansas declined to remove the ad, pointing out it contains no insignia identifying the department


The City of Little Rock last week sent a cease-and-desist letter to the group sponsoring Arkansas’ adult-use marijuana legalization ballot initiative. The city is demanding the group take down an ad the city claims depicts Little Rock police officers. Responsible Growth Arkansas, which says it likes the cops, on Friday declined to remove the ad.

RGA pointed out that the ad doesn’t contain any insignia or logo that identify the Little Rock Police Department.

The medical marijuana industry-backed group is 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, reports the Arkansas Advocate.

The Ad Doesn’t Say Cops Support Legalization

“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 attorney wrote. ”The Department has received inquiries as to why it is supporting this constitutional amendment when, in fact, it is not.”

The ad, of course, doesn’t mention anything about Little Rock cops, or any other cops, supporting legalization. It does accurately mention that 10% of tax proceeds from legal marijuana sales will fund law enforcement and cancer research.

The ad does include footage of a police vehicle and several shots of police officers. But it is next to impossible to discern their agency affiliation.

Responsible Growth emphasized its support for law enforcement. But the pro-weed group refused to remove the ad. The group correctly maintains that it did not imply an endorsement from the Little Rock Police Department.

“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,” RGA 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.”

Responsible Growth has portrayed Issue 4 as pro-police. The amendment’s primary purpose is to legalize marijuana for adult use. The amendment also specifies it would direct 10% of the tax revenue to law enforcement and cancer research.

LRPD attorney Carpenter didn’t immediately respond to a Wednesday question whether the city would attempt further legal action.

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