Bills would prohibit smoking marijuana and allow local governments to ban dispensaries without consulting voters | Arkansas Blog

Bills would prohibit smoking marijuana and allow local governments to ban dispensaries without consulting voters

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Three bills filed Monday by Republican state legislators seek to sharply circumscribe the medical marijuana amendment approved by Arkansas voters on Nov. 8. The lead sponsor of each is Rep. Robin Lundstrum of Elm Springs, in Northwest Arkansas.

The measure with the most sponsors is HB 1391, which would allow an Arkansas municipality or county to ban dispensaries or cultivators without holding a local election. All that would be needed to prohibit placement of such a business is "a majority vote of a city council or county quorum court," HB 1391 states.  It also would remove a line in the amendment that says local zoning regulations regarding dispensaries and cultivators can't be different than regulations regarding pharmacies

HB 1392 would ban the manufacture or sale of "edibles," or products derived from cannabis that are intended to be eaten. At the moment, the question of whether edibles will be sold in Arkansas is in the hands of regulators at the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, which has not yet issued its draft rules regarding marijuana products. However, HB 1392 specifically allows patients or their designated caregivers to "incorporate usable marijuana into food or drink to aid ingestion of the medical marijuana by a qualifying patient."

The allowance for homemade edibles is especially significant in the context of HB 1400, which prohibits smoking marijuana "in any location in Arkansas." Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) has been contemplating such a ban recently, and he's listed as a co-sponsor on this bill. Governor Hutchinson has said he's open to the possibility of a smoking ban.

Also: Keener eyes than mine at THV 11 note that HB 1400 was filed at 4:20 p.m.

Because the medical marijuana law is an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution, amending it would require a two-thirds supermajority of the legislature.


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