TWO med­i­cal-mar­i­juana bills fall in House, Se­nate.

Ed­i­ble prod­ucts, plants scru­ti­nized

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BRIAN FANNEY

Bills in­tend­ing to ban man­u­fac­tured ed­i­ble med­i­cal mar­i­juana prod­ucts and al­low a com­mis­sion to limit the num­ber of plants grown by dis­pen­saries failed to pass in sep­a­rate votes Mon­day in the House and Se­nate.

The bill to ban man­u­fac­tured ed­i­ble prod­ucts was sup­ported by Gov. Asa Hutchin­son. House Bill 1392 was spon­sored Rep. Robin Lund­strum, R-Elm Springs, who said Mon­day vot­ers ap­proved med­i­cal mar­i­juana but au­tho­rized law­mak­ers to guide the pro­gram.

“We are the ones that es­tab­lish the road,” she said. “We’re pro­vid­ing the high­way, the lights. This pro­vides the guardrails when it comes to ed­i­bles.”

Lund­strum says she was con­cerned about prod­ucts tempt­ing to chil­dren, such as cook­ies, brown­ies, soda or candy. The bill wouldn’t pro­hibit pa­tients or care­givers from mak­ing ed­i­ble med­i­cal mar­i­juana prod­ucts at home.

HB1392 failed to pass 52-40. A two-thirds vote is re­quired in the House and Se­nate to amend the Med­i­cal Mar­i­juana Amend­ment, now known as Amend­ment 98 to the Arkansas Con­sti­tu­tion.

The bill was op­posed by David Couch, the spon­sor of the voter-ap­proved Arkansas Med­i­cal Mar­i­juana Amend­ment, and Rep. Dou­glas House, R-North Lit­tle Rock, who’s or­ga­niz­ing med­i­cal mar­i­juana bills in the Leg­is­la­ture.

“This is wrong on so many lev­els,” House said Mon­day.

The House al­ready had passed a sep­a­rate bill — House Bill 1370 — re­quir­ing the Al­co­holic Bev­er­age Con­trol Divi­sion to de­velop rules pro­hibit­ing prod­uct de­signs — in­clud­ing pack­ag­ing, shapes and fla­vors — ap­peal­ing to chil­dren. That bill also would re­quire child­proof pack­ag­ing.

House said HB1370 should take care of con­cerns re­gard­ing chil­dren. He said ed­i­ble prod­ucts are im­por­tant be­cause they re­sult in a longer-last­ing high, which some pa­tients need to sleep. Home­made recipes are waste­ful of prod­uct and an in­vi­ta­tion for ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing chil­dren, he said.

He added older pa­tients gen­er­ally pre­fer ed­i­ble prod­ucts to smok­ing mar­i­juana.

Rep. Tim Lemons, R-Cabot, spoke against the bill. He voted against the amend­ment but said go­ing to the CARTI Can­cer Cen­ter with his wife over the past sev­eral weeks af­fected how he thought about mar­i­juana.

“There’s a real need for this,” he said. Ed­u­ca­tion is key to pre­vent­ing youth from us­ing the prod­uct, he added.

Rep. Deb­o­rah Fer­gu­son,

D-West Mem­phis, said she sup­ported the bill. She said her niece re­ceives mar­i­juana oil through a drop­per to con­trol seizures.

“When you talk to doc­tors in Cal­i­for­nia or Colorado, it’s not smok­ing pot that peo­ple end up in the emer­gency room,” she said. “It’s from the ed­i­bles be­cause there’s such a de­layed re­ac­tion.”

Chil­dren keep pop­ping cho­co­late or brown­ies un­til they over­dose, she said.

In the Se­nate, leg­is­la­tion failed to pass al­low­ing the

Med­i­cal Mar­i­juana Com­mis­sion to de­cide whether to al­low dis­pen­saries to grow up to 50 ma­ture plants.

The Se­nate’s 17-11 vote on Se­nate Bill 254 by Sen. Greg Stan­dridge, R-Rus­sel­lville, fell seven votes of the 24 re­quired for ap­proval in the 35-mem­ber Se­nate. The vote was later ex­punged to clear the way for an­other vote.

The Se­nate also sent the gov­er­nor HB1051 by House to re­quire the Med­i­cal Mar­i­juana Com­mis­sion to li­cense trans­porters, dis­trib­u­tors and

pro­ces­sors of med­i­cal mar­i­juana and HB1298 by House to al­low the trans­fer of a li­cense for dis­pen­saries and cul­ti­va­tion fa­cil­i­ties only to a “nat­u­ral per­son.”

The Se­nate also ap­proved HB1370 — which was re­ferred to in the House floor de­bate and would al­low the Al­co­holic Bev­er­age Con­trol Divi­sion to reg­u­late ed­i­bles and ad­ver­tis­ing — in a 30-0 vote.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.