Pictured:
Erika Ross Gee

WLJ Week 4 Legislative Update: Medical Marijuana Legislation


Week 4 of the legislative session saw increased activity on bills intended to implement, restrict or block the Medical Marijuana constitutional amendment, passed by the voters in November as Issue 6. On one end of the spectrum, Rep. Douglas House began to advance his second set of bills intended to implement the amendment: HB1371, HB1298, HB1370, HB1057, HB1049, HB1369 and HB1051. The House Rules committee is scheduled to vote on those bills at its meeting next week. On the other end, this week saw the beginning of efforts to add restrictions, including banning all smokeable and edible forms of marijuana (HB1400 and HB1392), enhancing the authority of municipalities to enact zoning restrictions (HB1391), eliminating the provision allowing dispensaries to grow on site (SB254), and, in SB238 by Sen. Jason Rapert, an effort to put the entire amendment on hold until medical marijuana has been legalized under Federal law. We can expect that the number of bills-and the debate about appropriate implementation-will only increase as we head into Week 5 of the session. – Erika Gee

AR – HB1400 TO AMEND THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016; AND TO PROHIBIT THE SMOKING OF MARIJUANA IN ANY LOCATION IN ARKANSAS.

  • Notes: Prohibits the smoking of marijuana in any location
  • Last Action: Read the first time, rules suspended, read the second time and referred to the Committee on HOUSE RULES (January 31, 2017)
  • Primary Sponsor: Representative Robin Lundstrum (R)

AR – HB1051 TO AMEND THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016; AND TO ADD A LICENSURE PROCEDURE FOR TRANSPORTERS, DISTRIBUTERS, AND PROCESSERS TO THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016.

AR – HB1369 TO AMEND THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016 REGARDING THE TAXATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF PROCEEDS; AND TO CREATE VARIOUS FUNDS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016.

AR – SB254 TO AMEND ARKANSAS CONSTITUTION, AMENDMENT 98, ALSO KNOWN AS THE “ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016” TO REPEAL THE PROVISIONS CONCERNING THE ABILITY OF A DISPENSARY TO GROW MARIJUANA.

  • Notes: Repeals provisions concerning the ability of a dispensary to grow marijuana
  • Last Action: Read first time, rules suspended, read second time, referred to Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare, and Labor (January 30, 2017)
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Greg Standridge (R)

AR – SB238 TO AMEND THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016; AND TO DELAY IMPLEMENTATION UNTIL THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE STATE OF ARKANSAS.

  • Notes: Delays the effective date of marijuana laws in Arkansas until marijuana becomes legal under federal law
  • Last Action: Read first time, rules suspended, read second time, referred to Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare, and Labor (January 26, 2017)
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Jason Rapert (R)

AR – HB1049 TO AMEND THE DEFINITION OF “EXCLUDED FELONY OFFENSE” WITHIN THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016.

AR – HB1057 TO AMEND THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016; AND TO ADD CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK PROCEDURES.

AR – HB1370 TO AMEND THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016; AND TO AUTHORIZE REGULATION OF ADVERTISING, MARKETING, PACKAGING, AND PROMOTION OF DISPENSARIES AND CULTIVATION FACILITIES.

AR – HB1402 CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH’S POTENTIAL FUTURE RECOGNITION OF A LEGAL MARIJUANA-DERIVED SCHEDULE VI CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE PRESCRIPTION.

  • Notes: Provides that if USDA designates, reschedules, or deschedules marijuana under federal law and approves marijuana as a prescription medication, the Director of the Department of Health must take that into consideration for scheduling of controlled substances in Arkansas.
  • Last Action: Read the first time, rules suspended, read the second time and referred to the Committee on HOUSE RULES (January 31, 2017)
  • Primary Sponsor: Representative Justin Boyd (R)

AR – HB1392 TO AMEND ARKANSAS CONSTITUTION, AMENDMENT 98; AND TO BAN USE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN FOOD AND DRINK UNLESS IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES.

  • Notes: Provides that the medical marijuana amendment does not permit a person to manufacture or sell or consume food or drink that contains usable marijuana. Does allow, however, a qualifying patient or caregiver to incorporate marijuana into food or drink to aid ingestion of the medical marijuana by the patient.
  • Last Action: Read the first time, rules suspended, read the second time and referred to the Committee on HOUSE RULES (January 30, 2017)
  • Primary Sponsor: Representative Robin Lundstrum (R)

AR – HB1391 TO AMEND THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016 REGARDING LOCAL REGULATIONS; AND TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY.

  • Notes: Zoning regulations do not have to be the same for licensed retail pharmacies.  Does allow for a city or county to regulate or prohibit the operation of any dispensaries or cultivation facilities in the city, town, or county.
  • Last Action: Read the first time, rules suspended, read the second time and referred to the Committee on HOUSE RULES (January 30, 2017)
  • Primary Sponsor: Representative Robin Lundstrum (R)

AR – SB243 TO AMEND THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016; AND TO AMEND THE DEPARTMENT OF CAREER EDUCATION PUBLIC SCHOOL FUND AND THE SKILLS DEVELOPMENT FUND.

  • Notes: Amends the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016 as it relates to the Department of Career Education Public School Fund and amends the use and proceeds of the Department of Career Education Public School Fund Account.
  • Last Action: Returned by the Committee, with the recommendation that it Do Pass (February 1, 2017)
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Jane English (R)
  • Amendments:

AR – HB1298 TO AMEND THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016; AND TO AUTHORIZE THE TRANSFER OF A LICENSE FOR DISPENSARIES AND CULTIVATION FACILITIES.

  • Notes: Provides that a license for a dispensary or cultivation facility shall only be issued to a natural person and that transfer of the license may only be to a natural person, upon approval from the Commission.
  • Last Action: Read the first time, rules suspended, read the second time and referred to the Committee on HOUSE RULES (January 25, 2017)
  • Primary Sponsor: Representative Douglas House (R)

AR – HB1371 TO AMEND THE PROVISIONS OF THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016; AND TO AMEND THE PROVISIONS CONCERNING OWNERSHIP INTEREST IN DISPENSARIES AND CULTIVATION FACILITIES.

  • Notes: Would mandate a criminal background check, and license for a dispensary or cultivation facility would only be in the name of a natural person with ownership interest.
  • Last Action: REPORTED CORRECTLY ENGROSSED (January 30, 2017)
  • Primary Sponsor: Representative Douglas House (R)
  • Amendments:

AR – HB1026 TO AMEND THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016 REGARDING THE DATES FOR RULEMAKING AND THE DATE TO BEGIN ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSARIES AND CULTIVATION FACILITIES; AND TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY.

AR – SB130 CONCERNING THE OMNIBUS DWI OR BWI ACT; CONCERNING OPERATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE OR BOAT UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA; AND ESTABLISHING A PRESUMPTIVE LEVEL OF INTOXICATION DUE TO MARIJUANA IN A PERSON’S BODILY FLUIDS.

  • Last Action: Read first time, rules suspended, read second time, referred to Senate Committee on Judiciary (January 17, 2017)
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Gary Stubblefield (R)

AR – HB1058 TO AMEND THE DEFINITION OF “WRITTEN CERTIFICATION” WITHIN THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT OF 2016; AND TO SPECIFY THAT AN APPLICATION FOR A REGISTRY IDENTIFICATION CARD IS NOT A MEDICAL RECORD.

  • Notes: Changes the definition of “written certification” by deleting the requirement that the certification provide that “the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks” for the patient.  Further provides that written certifications are not medical records and are exempt from FOIA.
  • Last Action: Notification that HB1058 is now Act 5 (January 24, 2017)
  • Primary Sponsor: Representative Douglas House (R)