Last Thursday, the Arkansas Senate approved, House Bill 1400 and Senate Bill 721, two major bills that will force requirements and limitations on the state's medical-marijuana program.
House Bill 1400 was passed last week in the House with an 88-0 vote. This Bill was proposed by Representative Robin Lundstrum, a Republican from Springdale, Arkansas. House Bill 1400's main target was to lay out distinctive rules upon where medical-marijuana could be smoked.
House Bill 1400 will ban smoking marijuana:
- Anywhere tobacco smoking is banned
- In the presence of a person under age 14
- In a Vehicle
- In the presence of a woman the smoker knows is pregnant
- In a small, enclosed space, that would likely authorize another user to become under the influence
- For anyone under the age of 21
Senate Bill 721 is headed by Senator Jason Rapert, a Republican from Bigelow, Arkansas. It is different than House Bill 1400 because it requires dispensary's to do much more. For example, one of the requirements placed on dispensaries will include, forcing dispensaries to have a pharmacist director who would be accessible to the dispensary at all hours of operation. Senate Bill 721 was voted on 27-0 and was approved by the Senate.
Senate Bill 721 requires dispensaries:
- To appoint a pharmacist director to be accessible at all times the dispensary is open
- To make marijuana vaporizers available for sale
- Prohibit dispensaries to provide patients with paraphernalia that requires the combustion of marijuana to be properly used, such as pipes, bongs, rolling papers, and roach clips
As for the next step for these bills, House Bill 1400 will be sent to the Governor and Senate Bill 721 will go to the House. As legalization becomes more prominent, we have to remember that laws will also become more regulated of the cannabis community.