On Monday Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) filed H.B. 1525 concerning the unlawful possession, transportation, and use of medical marijuana in Arkansas.

The bill prohibits a person from being under the influence of marijuana in public or at a marijuana dispensary or marijuana cultivation facility.

It clarifies that it is unlawful for a person to use marijuana by inhalation in a place where marijuana is prohibited by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016.

It also imposes penalties for possessing more marijuana than Arkansas’ medical marijuana amendment allows.

And it makes it a crime to transport medical marijuana into Arkansas from another state.

Right now, Arkansas law prohibits marijuana use in public, and it says that a person cannot be intoxicated by marijuana while at a marijuana dispensary or cultivation facility. State law also prohibits smoking of medical in public or if the user is under 21 years of age.

But Arkansas law does not contain penalties for violating some of these medical marijuana laws, and current law may not adequately address all the ways marijuana can be consumed by inhalation.

H.B. 1525’s broader language and penalties could help address these inadequacies in state law.

Time and again healthcare professionals have found a link between marijuana and serious health problems.

A study just published in JAMA Pediatrics found that heavy cannabis use among adolescents and young adults with mood disorders is “associated with an elevated risk of self-harm, overall mortality, and death by unintentional overdose and homicide.”

A 2019 study found that marijuana legalization has been linked to psychosis, suicide, and other substance abuse.

And a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s publication JAMA Psychiatry found exposure to marijuana during pregnancy was associated with psychotic behaviors, weaker cognitive abilities, and other problems in children.

All of this underscores what we have said for years: Marijuana may be many things, but “harmless” simply is not one of them.