LITTLE ROCK — The Senate on Thursday approved two bills imposing requirements and limitations on the state’s medical-marijuana program.
In a 31-1 vote, senators approved and sent to the governor House Bill 1400 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Springdale.
The bill would ban smoking marijuana anywhere tobacco smoking is banned or in the presence of a person under age 14, in a vehicle, in the presence of a woman the smoker knows is pregnant, or in a place where a person not authorized to use marijuana likely would become under the influence of marijuana, such as a small, enclosed space.
The measure also would ban anyone under age 21 from smoking medical marijuana.
HB 1400 passed 88-0 in the House last week.
Also Thursday, the Senate voted 27-0 to approve Senate Bill 721 by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow. The bill goes to the House.
Under the bill, a dispensary would be required to appoint a pharmacist director who would be accessible by the dispensary via telephone and available for patient consultations via phone or video conference during the dispensary’s hours of operation.
The pharmacist director would help develop educational materials for patients and provide guidance to dispensary agents on topics such as informing patients of the risks, benefits and side effects of using medical marijuana and refusing to provide medical marijuana to a patient who appears to be impaired or abusing the drug.
“It’s trying to help medicinal marijuana be medicinal by actually including a pharmacist,” Rapert told senators.
The bill also would require a dispensary to make marijuana vaporizers available for sale and would prohibit a dispensary from providing patients with paraphernalia that requires the combustion of marijuana to be properly used, such as pipes, bongs, rolling papers and roach clips.
In November, voters approved a constitutional amendment to legalize medicinal use of marijuana by people with certain medical conditions. The Legislature can make changes to the amendment with a two-thirds vote in both chambers.