LITTLE ROCK — The House on Monday rejected a bill to ban the manufacture or sale of medical marijuana in food or drink.


House Bill 1392 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Springdale, received 52 votes in support and 40 against. Because it would change a voter-approved constitutional amendment, it required a two-thirds vote for passage, or at least 67 votes in the 100-member House.


The bill would allow a patient authorized to use medical marijuana to put the drug in his or her own food, or have it done by an approved caregiver, but dispensaries could not sell the drug in food.


Lundstrum told House members that when voters approved a constitutional amendment in November to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana by people with certain medical conditions, they were voting for medical marijuana only, not recreational marijuana. She said her bill would help ensure that only people who are authorized to ingest the drug would do so.


She acknowledged that the state Medical Marijuana Commission is in the process of establishing regulations governing the types of products that a marijuana dispensary can sell, but she said, “that doesn’t negate our job as legislators to set up the parameters — the highway if you will, with the guardrails and the lights and the speed limits on the path to medical marijuana.”


Speaking against the bill, Rep. Douglas House, R-North Little Rock, said preparing food items containing proper dosages of marijuana is difficult, especially for the elderly.


“The old folks prefer the edible products,” he said.


Rep. Tim Lemons, R-Cabot, also spoke against the bill. He said his wife is receiving treatment for cancer and said he has learned that there is “a genuine need” for medical marijuana in edible products.


“A lot of the people that I’ve seen that are there with my wife taking chemo, there is no way they could physically manufacture their own edibles. It is just impossible,” he said.