Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission Moves Forward

By Frank G. Shineman


The State of Arkansas is in the process of joining 30 other States plus The District of Columbia in making Medical Marijuana readily available. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission was created by Article 19 of The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016. The Commission’s primary focus will be to administer and regulate the issuance of licenses to cultivate and sell medical marijuana. These licenses will be to operate Medical Marijuana dispensaries as well as cultivation facilities. The aforementioned functions with the oversight of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Agency.

Membership on the commission will comprise of five individuals, each member serving a four-year term. There will be two medical Doctors, a Doctor of Pharmacology, an attorney, and a private citizen.


There is also an important group whose endorsement of a given state’s entry into the medical marijuana field will carry a lot of weight. That group is called Americans for Safe Access. They serve primarily as an overseer or watchdog over the Therapeutic Marijuana Industry in the United States. They initially granted a B- grade to the State of Arkansas.


In a recent Little Rock meeting, it was determined that The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will only be approving and granting five licenses initially. After the top five applicants receive a certified letter, they will have seven business days to post a licensing fee of $100,000 and a performance bond of $500,000.


If an applicant cannot post the required bonds, the commission will move onto the next applicant in line. Once this task is completed, the commission will then begin scoring more than 200 dispensary applications. It is expected that this will take several months. The goal of the commission is to eventually select a maximum of four dispensary licenses in each of the State’s eight economic zones.


One of the most important factors in this ongoing process was a statement by an Arkansas State official that all convicted felons will be completely excluded from the industry. In this week’s edition of The Capitol View, Medipay’s chief legal officer, Dan Roda stated the following, “ You will not be qualified to have an ownership interest of a business in the industry or to even work inside a facility in the industry,” Roda said. “You know that’s important. You’re taking an industry that was operating in the shadows and you’re bringing it into the light and in doing so you want to make sure you have qualified people. They’re handling medicine that has to get into the hands of patients.”



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