Former U.S. Marine Sgt. Ryan Begin smokes medical marijuana at his home in Belfast, Maine on November 21, 2014. (Robert F. Bukaty, Associated Press file)

Arkansas votes down ban on smoking medical marijuana

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Senate has rejected a proposal to ban smoking medical marijuana in the state.

Senators voted 15-10 on Monday against the bill co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Jason Rapert. Rapert says smoking marijuana is harmful to public health and that Arkansas has spent millions of dollars to discourage people from smoking tobacco. He says he’s seen no evidence of a medicinal value to smoking marijuana and that the smoking of pot is a recreational use.

Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson argued against the bill, saying that approving it would go against the will of the people, who approved the state’s medical marijuana law in November.

The Senate approved a motion to allow Rapert to bring the bill back for another vote at a later date.