More pushback on medical marijuana from a Hutchinson-aligned Republican — two bills by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe to discourage use of medical marijuana.
Her proposals both attempt to amend the popularly approved Amendment 98 legalizing medical marijuana.
Her SB 440 would ban sale of medical marijuana in food or drink form except in a hospital by a qualified health care provider. Edible products are a popular means of selling medical marijuana at dispensaries nationwide and far easier for many to take
Her SB 441 would ban advertising of the product or of physician or caregiver services. It would also ban promotional coupons. Sellers also could not use symbols for their businesses associated with medical practice.
The constitutional amendment allows legislative amendments for most parts of the measure by a two-thirds vote if the amendments are “germane” and “consistent” with the amendment’s policy and purposes. Is restricting access to the drug consistent with intended health benefits?
Bledsoe is allied with the Hutchinson faction of state government. Her son, Gregory, is surgeon general. Her husband, a retired physician, got hired for a job in Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Health Department. She’s close to Sen. Jim Hendren, the governor’s nephew and Senate majority leader.
You may recall that Hutchinson issued a “Reefer Madness”-worthy alarm through his Health Department, his drug czar Kirk Lane and the young Surgeon General Bledsoe about the dangers of marijuana, plus appointed a foe of medical marijuana to the marijuana regulatory commission. He successfully urged the House speaker-controlled Rules Committee to kill legislation expanding conditions for which medical marijuana could be prescribed. And he also warned Arkies about going to Oklahoma to obtain legal cannabis before it is sold in Arkansas because of potential arrest for interstate transport. A friend of MMJ the governor and his allies are not.
The honor roll of Bledsoe’s co-sponsors who are intent on reversing the popular will and doing some stomping on the 1st Amendment:
Senators Bledsoe, J. Cooper, B. Davis, J. English, Flippo, Irvin, Hester, Rapert, G. Stubblefield
Representatives Lundstrum, Bentley, Petty
27 months after an overwhelming vote in favor we still have no medical marijuana for purchase. With some fast-tracking, this legislature might even LIMIT availability before it’s on sale