LITTLE ROCK — For the second time, the Arkansas Senate on Monday rejected a bill to ban smoking marijuana in all locations in the state.


Sen. Bill 357 by Rep. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, received 11 votes in support and 15 against. It fared only slightly better than it did on March 6, when it received 10 votes in support and 15 against.


Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment in November to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana by people with certain health conditions. Rapert told senators that if the purpose of the amendment is to promote health, then smoking marijuana should not be allowed because smoking is unhealthy and because children could be exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke.


“I’m asking you to protect the state of Arkansas, protect the health of the people of the state and protect our children, for goodness’ sake,” he said.


Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, spoke against the bill, noting that the medical-marijuana amendment voters approved states that the Legislature may not amend its provisions legalizing medicinal use of marijuana “stalks, seeds, roots, dried leaves, flowers, oils, vapors, waxes and other portions of the marijuana plant and any mixture or preparation thereof.”


“The point is, they said we couldn’t touch it,” Hutchinson said.


Sen. David Sanders, R-Little Rock, spoke in support of the bill.


“I’m afraid that by allowing this (amendment) to move forward we will in fact do harm to individuals, and that gives me pause,” he said.


Speaking against the bill, Sen. Linda Chesterfield, D-Little Rock, said there are only 35 senators, whereas hundreds of thousands of people voted to legalize medical marijuana in the state.


“I urge you not to substitute your will for theirs,” she said.


Rapert moved to expunge the vote by which his bill failed so he could bring the measure back for another vote, but the motion failed.


Rapert could attempt to change the medical-marijuana amendment with another bill, however. SB 721, which he filed last week on the last day of bill filing for the session, states that its purpose is to amend the medical-marijuana amendment. The bill currently is in “shell” form, leaving the details to be added later.