by ireadculture | March 29, 2017
The Arkansas House of Representatives passed an amendment on Tuesday that requires medical cannabis dispensaries to have a pharmacist available to their customers and staff.
House Bill 2190, which easily passed 81-2, requires dispensaries to have a pharmacist available to assist patients with medical cannabis questions and concerns. Arkansas Pharmacists Association CEO, Scott Pace, believes the new law is vital in protecting patients from unknowingly abusing cannabis. “We think it’s common sense legislation that will make sure that public safety is first,” Pace said.
The amendment’s intent is to train and educate dispensary employees about the potential risks and side effects associated with cannabis, and also how to identify warning signs of substance abuse. The pharmacist is not required to be onsite, provided that they can make themselves available for assistance via phone or video conferencing.
The bill sparked a debate on both sides of the aisle with those in favor, like Rep. Robin Lundstrom stating, “This is medical marijuana, we are treating it like medicine, and were putting in, at least, a speed bump . . . At least someone that the patient can consult with and get a little help. I think it’s a good bill. It’s a start. Is it perfect? No. But it is a start towards treating medical marijuana like medicine.”
Additionally the amendment would require dispensaries to stock vaporizers for customers who are looking for a healthier alternative to traditional smoking.
The bill is now headed to the Arkansas Senate, where it is expected to pass. It would then land on Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk to be signed into law. Asa was the DEA Administrator under George W. Bush, so it is likely that he will approve of the measure.
Arkansas has been a hotbed of cannabis activity