Senate committee approves curb on edible and drinkable medical marijuana UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Senate committee approves curb on edible and drinkable medical marijuana UPDATE

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 11:42 AM

SEN. CECILE BLEDSOE: Pushes curbs on medical marijuana.
  • SEN. CECILE BLEDSOE: Pushes curbs on medical marijuana.

A Senate committee today approved legislation aimed at discouraging the sale of medical marijuana in a way to appeal to children.

The Public Health Committee approved one of two bills proposed by marijuana foe Sen. Cecile Bledsoe. Despite opponents' testimony, the committee handily approved her SB 440 originally written to ban the manufacture or sale of medical marijuana in edible or drinkable forms. Bledsoe's witness, Deputy Attorney General Brian Bowen, emphasized that people would still be free to make their own edible forms of the drug at home. Hospitals also could do this.

The bill was amended this morning to tailor it more narrowly to discourage marketing of edible products that might appeal to children, such as by resembling popular candy. Thus, dispensaries can still sell edibles, but tweaks in rules will require legislative changes, a cumbersome process the industry doesn't favor. It's still better than her original bill, that banned sale of such products.

She pulled down SB 441 to limit advertising of medical marijuana after questions noted some conflicts in language between the bill and the amendment approved by voters.  The bill, as written, bans advertising. But it is apparently to be amended to reflect Marijuana Commission rules that restrict advertising in ways that could appeal to children. This is more acceptable than the original form, which was an outright ban.

NOTE: This article has been revised to reflect the amendment to Bledsoe's legislation.

UPDATE: The committee reconvened in late afternoon. It expunged the morning vote on SB 440 and amended it to correct a technical error then again approved it. And it amended and approved SB 441 on advertising. It is not a ban, but prohibits advertising targeting children. Both bills now make law rules already adopted by the Medical Marijuana Commission, but go no farther.

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