This afternoon a good bill that prohibits “medical marijuana” users from smoking marijuana failed to clear the Arkansas Senate for the second time since last week.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment currently lets practically anyone qualify to smoke marijuana. Even children are allowed to smoke it.
Smoking is a recreational activity that is almost universally recognized as unhealthy.
That’s why S.B. 357 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs) prohibits marijuana smoking; other forms of medical marijuana use—such as marijuana oils, tinctures, and vaporizers—would remain legal, but not smoking.
This afternoon S.B. 357 failed to pass the Arkansas Senate. The bill needed twenty-four votes to pass; it received only eleven.
Here are the senators who voted for S.B. 357:
- Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R-Rogers)
- Sen. Ron Caldwell (R-Wynne)
- Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R-Pocahontas)
- Sen. John Cooper (R-Jonesboro)
- Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs)
- Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View)
- Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)
- Sen. David Sanders (R-Little Rock)
- Sen. Greg Standridge (R-Russellville)
- Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch)
- Sen. Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot)
Here are the senators who voted against S.B. 357:
- Sen. Will Bond (D-Little Rock)
- Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock)
- Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale)
- Sen. Joyce Elliot (D-Little Rock)
- Sen. Jake Files (R-Fort Smith)
- Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado)
- Sen. Jim Hendren (R-Gravette)
- Sen. Jimmy Hickey (R-Texarkana)
- Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock)
- Sen. Keith Ingram (D-West Memphis)
- Sen. Blake Johnson (R-Corning)
- Sen. Uvalde Lindsey (D-Fayetteville)
- Sen. Bruce Maloch (D-Magnolia)
- Sen. Terry Rice (R-Waldron)
- Sen. David Wallace (R-Leachville)
Here are the senators who did not vote on S.B. 357:
- Sen. Eddie Cheatham (D-Crossett)
- Sen. Lance Eads (R-Springdale)
- Sen. Jane English (R-North Little Rock)
- Sen. Scott Flippo (R-Bull Shoals)
- Sen. Stephanie Flowers (D-Pine Bluff)
- Sen. Bill Sample (R-Hot Springs)
- Sen. Larry Teague (D-Nashville)
Sen. Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe) voted “Present” on the bill instead of voting for or against it.
Sen. Bryan King (R-Green Forest) was not able to vote due to an excused absence from the Arkansas Senate.
The Arkansas Senate was flooded with phone calls from people all over Arkansas who support this good bill. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette chastised the legislature over the weekend for failing to pass a commonsense regulation like S.B. 357 to ban marijuana-smoking. The fact that the Arkansas Senate failed to pass S.B. 357 today shows that senators are out of touch with Arkansans.
Unfortunately, the Arkansas Senate did not expunge the vote that was cast today. That means it is highly unlikely Sen. Rapert will be able to bring S.B. 357 back up for a third vote.
However, there is legislation related to marijuana-smoking up for consideration in the Arkansas House of Representatives. We plan to work with lawmakers to help those good bills move forward. We will have more information about that legislation in the coming days.
Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.