Are marijuana vending machines coming to Arkansas. A Little Rock-based advocacy group says that's a valid question in light of the medical marijuana issue before voters this election year.

Family Council Action Committee announced Tuesday that its office is working with State Senators Jeremy Hutchinson and Johnny Key, who are seeking an opinion from Attorney General McDaniel on whether or not the proposed Issue 5 would open Arkansas up to marijuana vending machines.

"Marijuana is dispensed through vending machines in California," said Family Council Action Committee President Jerry Cox. "It's twenty-four hours a day at some locations. Some people are trying to get Connecticut to permit these machines under its marijuana program. It's the future of the 'medical' marijuana industry. They're basically just high-tech snack machines that sell marijuana and marijuana-infused food instead of potato chips. I really don't think there's anything in Issue 5 that would prohibit them in Arkansas. Hopefully Attorney General McDaniel's office can
shed some light on how widespread vending machines might become if Issue 5 passes next week."

Cox said he is pretty sure there is nothing in Issue 5 that would prevent vending machines at dispensaries, but wonders if the act adequately limits where vending machines may be located. "Can a marijuana dispensary put a vending machine offsite somewhere? Can a dispensary in Magnolia or Jonesboro contract to put a vending machine at a convenience store across town? Can a dispensary put a vending machine out front for people to use in the middle of the night, when the dispensary is closed? Those are some of my questions."

Cox said vending machines are an aspect of medical marijuana many people are not aware of. "They're a part of the marijuana industry that's growing quickly, but they seem to catch people off guard. I think when they hear the term 'medical marijuana,' a lot of folks still picture a doctor writing a prescription that a person picks up at a pharmacy. They don't imagine that Issue 5 completely bypasses pharmacies altogether, and they sure don't imagine people buying marijuana out of vending machines. It sounds so far-fetched it's almost laughable, but it's actually happening."

Cox said the prospect of marijuana vending machines coming to Arkansas ought to give voters pause. "We don't sell beer out of vending machines. We don't sell cigarettes out of vending machines. I don't know why anyone would be comfortable selling marijuana out of vending machines."


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