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State lawmakers in Arkansas introduced a bill on Monday that would decriminalize possession of tiny amounts of marijuana. Below the measure, Property Bill 1972, possession of much less than 1 ounce of marijuana would be deemed a violation alternatively of crime and would be topic to a fine of not extra than $200. Presently, possession of much less than an ounce of cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor in Arkansas. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Charles Blake and Sen. Joyce Elliot and co-sponsored by Rep. Vivian Flowers, all Democrats.

The bill does not adjust the law for possession of bigger amounts of marijuana. Below existing statute, possession of 1 to 4 ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor, though with 4 or extra prior convictions possession of that quantity can be charged as a Class D felony. Possessing 4 ounces to 10 pounds of marijuana is a Class D felony and 10 to 25 pounds of weed is a Class C felony. Possession of 25 fo 100 pounds of marijuana is a Class B felony and possessing extra than 100 pounds of pot is a Class A felony. Below HB 1972, possession of much less than 1 ounce would not qualify as a earlier marijuana conviction.

HB 1972 has been referred to the Property Judiciary Committee for consideration.

Healthcare Marijuana Coming to Arkansas This Month

Even though Arkansas voters authorized an amendment legalizing healthcare marijuana in November 2016, individuals nonetheless do not have legal access to cannabis in the state. Licenses have been issued to growers and cultivation has currently begun and 32 dispensaries received licenses in February, with some expecting to open later this month.

Alex Gray, an lawyer for the Arkansas Cannabis Business Association, told regional media two weeks ago that he expects fewer than 10 dispensaries to open in April.

“I anticipate it will be feasible for individuals to receive their medicine by mid-April,” Gray stated. “However, there is no assure that it will be hassle-free. You could have specific zones exactly where there are no dispensaries up and operating.”

Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the state Division of Finance and Administration, stated in an e-mail in March that only a fraction of the 32 licensed dispensaries will be opening quickly.

“We are in get in touch with with a number of dispensaries,” Hardin stated. “Based on these conversations, we anticipate a restricted quantity of dispensaries (much less than 5) will be inspected in April. If the providers pass inspection, they could then open their doors for small business. We are not necessarily confident the item will be obtainable for acquire subsequent month. Primarily based on the information and facts at the moment obtainable to us, April remains our ideal estimate. The sector ought to genuinely flourish as we enter late spring and summer season.”