Medical Marijuana

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Potential operators of medical marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries came together at a half-day symposium in Little Rock Wednesday to discuss their expectations of what the new industry will be like.

Among the attendees was TV host Montel Williams, who gave the keynote address at the event organized by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association. Williams has multiple sclerosis, and has long advocated for medicinal cannabis use. His visit had added significance, since he recently accepted a position on the association’s board.

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Would-be growers and distributors of Arkansas' initial medical marijuana crop have flooded a state office building waiting for their turn to submit applications.

Ahead of Monday afternoon's deadline, there was about a three-hour wait for applicants at the Department of Finance and Administration Building. Agency spokesman Scott Hardin said that before noon, the office had distributed paperwork to more than 100 groups or individuals. Fewer than half the applicants had been called in for clerks to review paperwork to ensure it was in order.

With one week before a deadline for entities to apply for licenses to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana, officials still haven't received as many applications as expected.

As of midday Monday, Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin said 27 applications for dispensaries had been received. That’s five fewer than the 32 officials expected to be approved, though more applications are expected in the coming days.

11 applications for cultivation facilities have been received, with five to be approved.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has not yet received applications for pot-growing and cultivation facilities as of Wednesday, and there have only been two submissions to locate a cannabis dispensary within the state less than three weeks before the state’s legislature-approved deadline

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The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association has named a Fayetteville physician as the chairman of its board of directors.

The association says in a statement Monday that Dr. Regina Thurman would replace Dr. Steve Cathey on the board. The group says Cathey chose not to serve on its board to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest with his position as chairman of the Arkansas State Medical Board.

The group says it'll be a "leading voice" for cultivators, distributors and business serving the medical marijuana industry.

Second Arkansas Medical Marijuana Industry Group Formed

Aug 10, 2017

A new pro-medical marijuana association has been formed that includes as board members a former Arkansas attorney general and the author of the amendment that brought medical marijuana to the state. It is the second association claiming to represent the state’s upstart medical marijuana industry.

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Arkansans hoping to obtain medical marijuana can now apply for a patient card on the state Department of Health’s website. Prospective patients and caregivers can search through a page that includes instructions and resources detailing requirements for the application process. To apply online, patients and caregivers will need to have an email address, a written certification from their physician, a state-issued ID.  Applicants must pay a nonrefundable $50 fee.

In addition to Steep Hill and Herbal Compliance’s unorthodox investment vehicles looking to enter Arkansas’ medical marijuana industry that is projected to grow to nearly $70 million in the next seven years, a host of other local and out-of-state investors, entrepreneurs and speculators also want to get in on the front end of the state’s newest hybrid healthcare sector.

Arkansas Department of Health
Arkansas Department of Health

The Arkansas Department of Health will begin accepting applications for medical marijuana patient cards at the end of the month, according to an agency news release. The cards will be distributed to qualifying patients and caregivers in order to allow the purchase of medicine from licensed dispensaries. The Health Department says it will distribute the cards approximately 30 days before medical marijuana is available for sale in the state. That could be next year.

Applications are now available for those who want to sell or grow medical marijuana in Arkansas under a new constitutional amendment legalizing the drug for some patients.

The Medical Marijuana Commission on Monday posted the applications for licenses to operate medical marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries. The commission is expected to accept applications from June 30 to Sept. 18.

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