An effort by Arkansas lawmakers to undermine a voter-approved initiative that legalizes medical cannabis has failed in the Senate.
In November Arkansas voters approved Issue 6 with 53% voting in favor. The constitutional amendment legalizes the possession and use of medical cannabis, including a system of licensed dispensaries. Today the Senate voted 15 to 11 to reject Senate Bill 357, a measure filed by Representative Jason Rapert (D) that would have made changes to this law, banning the actual smoking of medical cannabis. This is the second time this year the Senate has rejected such a measure.
A motion that would have allowed the bill to come up again at a later time failed unanimously, 11 to 0. This thankfully puts the bill to rest, at least for the time being.
Under Arkansas’ new law the state will begin accepting applications for dispensaries in July, which are expected to be open sometime next year. Those who receive a recommendation from a physician, and register with the state, will be authorized to use these safe access points once they open their doors.