• Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities Fights Marijuana Legalization

    As you know, ballot initiatives to legalize both medical and recreational use of marijuana are collecting signatures that, if passed, will open the pathway to increased substance abuse and make our communities less safe.

    While pot proponents are cynically using cancer and epilepsy patients to promote marijuana for medical use, the truth is only 5-10% of medical marijuana patients have cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, or HIV. Compassion is not the real motivator behind these bills, but, just like Big Tobacco, a few people stand to make a lot of money. Unfortunately, also like Big Tobacco, the taxpayers will pay far more down the road for the consequences of legalization than they will ever get in tax revenue.

    For employers, the impact on productivity, workplace safety, compliance and litigation is staggering. According to the US Department of Justice: National Drug Intelligence Centre. The Economic Impact of Illicit Drug Use on American Society (2011). Overall, lost-work productivity (including absenteeism and poor job performance) associated with substance abuse accounts for more than two-thirds of the total $193 billion that drugs cost employers and the nation annually. In fact, the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice states that employees who test positive for marijuana have 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries, and absenteeism rates that are 75% higher than those who test negative on a pre- employment exam. The National Law Review warns that the growing conflict between drug and employment law in the states where legalization has occurred is “ripe for future litigation.”

    Probably the most dire consequence is the effect on our youth. Last fall, the American College of Pediatricians said “Marijuana is addicting, has adverse effects upon the adolescent brain, is a risk for both cardio-respiratory disease and testicular cancer, and is associated with both psychiatric illness and negative social outcomes. Evidence indicates limited legalization of marijuana has already raised rates of unintended marijuana exposure among young children…” The facts overwhelmingly show that states that legalized marijuana lead non-legalized states in teen marijuana use. Marijuana use as a teen increases the rate of addiction from 9 to 17%, almost 1 in 6 kids getting addicted. Addicted teenagers mean less educational achievement and lower IQ and more school dropouts, traffic fatalities, and eventual unemployment.

    Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities is dedicated to fighting these initiatives in order to keep our communities safe but WE NEED YOUR HELP to fight the false propaganda being fed to our youth and our state downplaying the harmful effects of marijuana legalization.

    As parents, teachers, medical professionals, law enforcement officials, business owners, and community leaders, it is our job to step up to the plate and protect our community. We have the facts but need your help combating false and misleading information’ from pot proponents.

    Please support this campaign by doing these simple, but important steps:

     

    Combating the misleading information being spread by the big pot industry is expensive. Every contribution we receive goes directly towards getting our message out and defeating these ballot initiatives. Whether it’s $1,000, $500, $250, $100, or even $50 – EVERY contribution we receive gets us one step closer to victory.

    We have a great resource in our website and we are adding new information frequently. Please engage the campaign by following us on Facebook and finding a way to volunteer in your community.

    States that have legalized are suffering from the consequences of their folly and responsible people are bemoaning the fact they did nothing to stop it when they had a chance. We have the chance to take a stand against the marijuana industry and keep Arkansas from becoming a drug house, like Colorado.

    Please join with us and learn from their mistake before it is too late.

    Respectfully yours,

    Kevin Russell, Chairman
    Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities

    P.S. Please share with your friends and consider a donation of $500, $250, $100, or $50 today to help us get our message out. Thank you, in advance, for your support.  To learn more about the Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities initiative, visit keeparkansassafe.com

  • Arkansas Partners with USDA to Combat Food Insecurity for Kids

    On average, families spend an additional $300 each month on food during the summer. Working parents who know their children are safe, supervised and fed during the school year must make other arrangements for their kids in the summer. In Arkansas, there are about 280,000 children who are eligible for reduced price meals at their schools during the school year. So what happens during the summer months?

    That is where volunteers and non-profits across the state have worked to fill the gap by opening the doors of their churches, community centers, and schools to be a summer meal site.

    This summer close to 200 sites are available for children in our state. The meals are paid for by the USDA and must meet certain guidelines to ensure proper nutrition.

    Parents do not need to apply to the program to get a free summer meal for their kids, and it does not interfere with other benefits they may be receiving.

    Arkansas ranks highest in the nation for food insecurity according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap 2015 report. In that report, 19.7 percent of households and 28.4 percent of children were unsure of where they will get their next meal.

    There are USDA authorized Summer Meals Sites in almost every county in Arkansas. Parents and care givers can find a summer meals site in their communities by:

    • Going to http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks interactive map that will show meal sites near you.
    • Calling 1-866-3-HUNGRY (a live operator will ask for your address and give you a list of sites.)
    • Texting FOOD to 877 877 (you will be asked for your zip code and receive a list of sites in your area.)

    You can also help this summer by offering your time. The best sites have organized, well-run activities that keep the interest of the children and teens coming back to the site day after day. Some of these activities include arts and crafts, tutoring, reading programs, cooking or any other creative ideas you may have. Many sites have enlisted local fire and police departments and local businesses to make presentations. The only limitation is your imagination.