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story.lead_photo.caption Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (right), R-Rogers, is shown in this file photo with Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Gravette.

Two bills that would make state regulations on medical marijuana products a part of state law cleared a Senate committee on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 440 would prohibit cultivation facilities and dispensaries from making marijuana products in the form of food items, such as candy, cookies or brownies, attractive to children or commonly marketed to them.

Senate Bill 441 would place restrictions on advertising, including barring ads targeting children.

Both bills, sponsored by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers, copy almost verbatim from regulations adopted by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in 2017.

[RELATED: Complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of medical marijuana in Arkansas]

"I feel that this issue is so important that we should codify these rules to further strengthen the methods in which we protect children from accessing these medications," Bledsoe said while explaining SB440.

Amendment 98 to the Arkansas Constitution, which legalized medical marijuana in Arkansas, gave the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board the authority to regulate marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries.

[RELATED: Complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of the Arkansas Legislature]

David Couch, the Little Rock attorney who drafted the 2016 amendment, said after the meeting that the bills won't change anything because the restrictions are already in the board's regulations.

He said he supports the restrictions on edible products, which he said don't prohibit items such as crackers, gelatins or sprays.

"You can make a product and make it in a form that you can take orally that doesn't look like a gummy," he said.

The Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor advanced the bills in voice votes.

They next go to the full Senate.

A Section on 03/14/2019

Print Headline: Senate panel favors 2 bills to codify medical-pot rules

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