LITTLE ROCK — The Senate on Tuesday rejected a bill to ban the manufacture and sale of food and drink containing medical marijuana.
Senate Bill 333 by Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, received 15 votes in support and 11 against. Because it would amend the constitutional amendment voters approved in November to legalize medical marijuana, it needs a two-thirds vote to pass, or 24 votes in the 35-member Senate.
The Senate approved a motion by Stubblefield to expunge the vote by which the bill failed, allowing him to bring it back at a later date. Stubblefield said he will see if he can drum up enough support to justify seeking another vote.
Presenting the bill on the Senate floor, Stubblefield said allowing the manufacture and sale of food and drink containing marijuana could lead to accidental consumption of the drug by children.
Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, said the state Medical Marijuana Commission is developing regulations to ensure the drug is not produced or packaged to appeal to children. He also noted that the constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana makes reference to the inclusion of marijuana in food and drink.
Hutchinson said he opposed the amendment when it was on the ballot, but it passed, and “our job is to do the best we can to implement the will of the people.”
The vote came a day after the Senate rejected a bill to prohibit smoking marijuana anywhere in the state. SB 357 by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, received 10 votes in support and 15 against.