Medical marijuana patients in Arkansas push for access, lawmakers work to limit use

Local News
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(2/26/19) Medical marijuana patients and advocates from across Arkansas rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday for more access.

Members of the Drug Policy Education Group marked their third-annual Patient Day by trying to get state lawmakers to sponsor a new bill. It would allow children with medical marijuana patient ID cards to receive the product at school in a non-smoking form from a nurse. 

A law passed in 2017 prohibits cannabis on school grounds.

One student, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at five years old, spoke at the Capitol on her 9th birthday to ask lawmakers for help.

“I’m really glad to help other people because some of them may not be able to fight for themselves,” Jaynna Jenson told the crowd. “It’s important to me that all other kids have their medicine available even at school so that they can have better learning days.” 

Jenson and her parents worry she will be forced to check out of school, leave the grounds, take her medicine, then check back in to school every day.

Also on Tuesday, St. Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers, filed two bills that would amend the medical marijuana amendment voters passed in 2016.

SB 440 would ban the sale of medical marijuana in food or drink form, except in a hospital by a qualified health care provider. 

SB 441 would ban physicians and caregiver services from advertising the product. It would also prohibit promotional coupons.

According to the bill, sellers could not use symbols for their businesses “commonly associated with the practice of medicine, the practice of pharmacy or health care in general.”

Earlier this month, Bledsoe’s son, Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe, issued a public health advisory alongside the Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane to warn citizens about the risks associated with use of cannabis.

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