Arkansas lawmaker behind anti-MMJ smoking bill took tobacco cash

The Arkansas state senator behind a bill that would would bar patients from smoking medical marijuana under the state’s new MMJ law has accepted campaign money from tobacco companies.

State Sen. Jason Rapert cited health factors as the reason behind his anti-smoking legislation targeting medical cannabis.

“Universally, in the public health community, people will tell you that you should not smoke,” Rapert, a Republican, told the Associated Press in explaining why he introduced the anti-smoking measure.

According to, Rapert accepted campaign contributions of $4,750 from “tobacco companies and tobacco product sales,” including a $1,750 contribution from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.

Rapert did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Historically, tobacco industry executives have viewed marijuana as both a potential opportunity and a possible threat.

Rapert’s anti-smoking bill won approval Wednesday as part of a legislative package passed by a state senate committee that would prohibit the smoking, eating or drinking of MMJ.

The state senator also proposed a bill that would have stopped the launch of the Arkansas program until the federal government legalized medical marijuana. But the committee did not pass that measure, the AP reported.

Any changes to the Arkansa medical cannabis program would require a two-thirds vote in both the state House and Senate.

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5 comments on “Arkansas lawmaker behind anti-MMJ smoking bill took tobacco cash
    • Ray Davis on

      It takes $4,750 to influence an ARKANSAS politician—Oklahoma’s republicans are a lot cheaper to buy. BTW: the fact that these state politicians are subverting the will of the people is sickening and un-American. They’re doing the same thing in Oklahoma where we got the required number of signatures on the petition for MMJ. The republicans in charge kept the issue off the ballot in 2016 and it may be 2-4 years before Oklahomans can vote medical marijuana in… before the issue even gets on the ballot. Polls show about 80% of Oklahomans are in favor of MMJ.

  1. Dee Worth on

    How convenient of him to ignore thirty year study, done by Dr. Donald Tashkin, Professor Emeritus and Medical Director of the Pulmonary Function Lab, at UCLA, that shows there is no link between the smoking of Cannabis and lung disease, COPD or cancer. The business of research, has been going on in Israel, which the US Government subsidized for about the same length of time, using twelve million dollars of taxpayers money.Talk to professor Raphael Mechoulam, he would know all about it, as he applied for those grant monies, and was paid until he stopped applying for it.

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