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Arkansas Legislators' Attempts to Ban Smoking of Medical Marijuana Fail

Arkansas medical marijuana patients will remain free to smoke up at home.

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Two recent bills intended to limit the ways that patients in Arkansas can consume medical marijuana have been voted down or amended by legislators.

The first of these two bills, Senate Bill 357, proposed adding a line to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment that would prevent any patient from smoking medical marijuana “in any location in Arkansas.” Last week, the Arkansas Senate voted against the bill by 11-15. State Senator Jason Rapert, sponsor of the bill, filed a motion to expunge the failed vote, which also failed.

The second of these two bills, House Bill 1400, also prohibited any kind of medical marijuana smoking.  However, The bill was amended by its sponsor, State Rep. Robin Lundstrum to allow patients to smoke at home. The revised bill prohibits smoking in the presence of pregnant women or anyone under 14, and also prohibits smoking in places where others might inhale the second-hand smoke. Patients under 21 will be prohibited from smoking, but can take medical marijuana in pill form.

The Arkansas House approved the amended HB-1400 with a unanimous 88-0 vote. The bill now advances to the state Senate, where it will be reviewed by the Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee. In order to become law, the bill must be approved by two-thirds of both the Senate and the House, and then signed into law by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.