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Shelby County D.A. supports recreational marijuana amendment in Arkansas

Steve Mulroy and another West Tennessee D.A. argue no matter how vote goes Tuesday in Arkansas, they won't prioritize prosecuting marijuana possession in TN.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Monday, on the eve of Election Day, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy and another district attorney in West Tennessee - Frederick Agee - went on record about marijuana.

They said no matter if Arkansas voters say 'yes' or 'no' to recreational marijuana in a amendment measure Tuesday, prosecuting possession cases won't be a priority for them moving forward.

"I think we all know the facts; marijuana is really no more dangerous than alcohol," Mulroy said.

"Families have been torn apart, people lives have been ruined because of marijuana prohibition," Agee added.

RELATED: Issue 4 could legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas

The D.A.'s argued if Arkansas voters approve recreational marijuana, it would free up police and court resources and keep fewer people locked up on possession charges.

"We are never going to defeat a plant. We have spent billions and billions and billions of taxpayer dollars trying to defeat a plant. It's not going to happen," Agee said.

No matter how vote turns out, ABC24 was told: "Memphis Police Officers will continue to enforce the laws of Tennessee. If an individual is found in possession of marijuana, the officer will proceed as state law directs."

"Marijuana enforcement be a very low profile for this administration. I think we need to deprioritize things that don't matter like marijuana," Mulroy responded.

"Do we need another drug problem in Arkansas? Don't we already have enough to deal with?" Family Council Action Committee Executive Director Jerry Cox said.

The organization opposes the measure and recently conducted a 26-city campaign across Arkansas.

"It will drive people more and more into the black market to buy it illegally because it's cheaper, or it will cause them to cross state lines and try to get back into Arkansas with it illegally from other states where it may be cheaper," Cox said.

If Arkansas voters approve recreational marijuana Tuesday, it would take effect in March and there would be a lottery to create 52 additional dispensaries. 

Marijuana bought in Arkansas would be taxed at 10%, with 15% of those revenues going to a stipend for law enforcement.

RELATED: What are the Arkansas amendments on the 2022 ballot?

RELATED: Legalization of recreational marijuana captures attention in Arkansas

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