The Arkansas House of Representatives this morning approved legislation by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs) that would place limitations on the smoking of medical marijuana but not ban the practice outright, as an earlier version of the bill proposed. The vote was 88-0.
House Bill 1400 “bans smoking [marijuana] anywhere regular tobacco smoking is also banned,” Lundstrum said today. “People could still smoke at home.” The bill also prohibits smoking pot in the presence of a child younger than 14, inside a motor vehicle, “knowingly in the presence of a pregnant woman,” and if the smoke “is likely to cause another person … to be under the influence of marijuana” if that person isn’t an authorized marijuana user. And, it forbids a patient under the age of 21 from smoking marijuana for medical use. Such a patient could still ingest the drug in another way, such as orally.
Lundstrum said the bill was “straightforward. It’s not taking anybody’s marijuana away, but it is lining us up with the Clean Air Act.”
Although HB 1400 still requires passage in the Senate, its success in the House would seem to put to rest discussion of prohibiting marijuana smoking entirely. Lundstrum’s initial bid to forbid marijuana smoking anywhere in Arkansas stalled in committee, and a similar proposal by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) has failed twice in the Senate and appears dead.
Rep. Doug House (R-North Little Rock), the legislature’s de facto point person for most of the marijuana-related legislation this session, said he supported the amended version of Lundstrum’s bill.
A separate bill by Lundstrum to ban the sale of edible marijuana products was not taken up by the House this morning.
Any modifications to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment passed by voters in November require a two-thirds supermajority vote for passage in the legislature.