A bill under consideration by the Arkansas General Assembly, filed by state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers, prohibits the sale of commercially produced marijuana edibles. It would, however, permit mixing marijuana into food or beverages in the home for an individual who is cleared to use marijuana as a medical treatment.

Likewise, an exception will be made for hospitals, who will be permitted to treat patients by mixing marijuana into their food or beverages when the individuals already rely on marijuana for relief of pain.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bledsoe has also introduced a bill that would set forth restrictions on the methods of advertising permitted for marijuana businesses within the state.

Senate Bill 440 stipulates that marijuana edibles would not be permitted for consumption, manufacture or sale. Act 1023, passed in 2017, already prohibits the sale of cannabis and marijuana edibles from vending machines within state boundaries.

A previous bill that was worded in much the same manner was introduced in 2017. That bill died on the floor of the House, failing to gain the 2/3rds majority vote needed to pass into law.

Sen. Bledsoe also filed Senate Bill 441 which would prohibit marijuana businesses from using broadcasting, print, billboards, and online services as a method of advertising their products. The bill stipulates that coupons and promotional flyers are also a no, and there will be no handing out free samples.

In an interesting addition, Senate Bill 441 would also ensure that dispensaries and businesses selling marijuana do not operate under names that incorporate symbols commonly associated with medical facilities or personnel. Currently, 32 dispensaries operate in Arkansas and six of those have medicinals or RX in the name in use while three others include health, wellness, and care.

The bills will first go before the state’s Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development committee.

Currently, 7,100 state residents have been cleared to use marijuana for medical treatment as sufferers of one of 18 conditions set out by the legislation that legalized medical marijuana. These residents will be issued marijuana ID cards and should be able to purchase marijuana within the state by April.

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