Arkansas Closes in on Medical Pot Program Launch


Arkansas panel on Jan. 9 named 32 companies it intends to license to promote medical marijuana, two years after voters accredited its legalization and following a collection of delays which have pissed off sufferers and advocates.

The state Medical Marijuana Commission accredited the scores from an outdoor advisor it had employed to judge about 200 purposes for dispensaries. The companies should pay a $15,000 licensing charge and put up a $100,000 efficiency bond before the licenses to promote the drug are formally issued. The fee final year awarded 5 cultivation licenses to develop medical marijuana.

Arkansas voters in 2016 accredited a constitutional modification legalizing medical marijuana, however this system’s rollout has confronted legal and bureaucratic delays. Adding to the frustration is neighboring Oklahoma, the place medical marijuana is already accessible to sufferers months after voters accredited its legalization.

“On a scale of 1 to 10 by way of frustration, we’re all at a 99,” mentioned Melissa Fults, government director of the Drug Policy Education Group, which advocates for medical marijuana sufferers.

Arkansas has accredited greater than 6,700 playing cards for sufferers to make use of medical marijuana, and the state Department of Health has mentioned it seemingly gained’t distribute the playing cards till February. The sufferers embrace LaRee Treece, who has fibromyalgia and says she wants medical marijuana for the ache.

“I believe the delay is horrendous. I’ve had a number of buddies die ready,” she mentioned.

Even with Wednesday’s vote, sufferers are nonetheless seemingly months away from with the ability to purchase marijuana. Two of the cultivation amenities don’t count on to have the drug accessible till April , whereas the others mentioned it seemingly gained’t be till later in the summertime.

The lawyer who wrote Arkansas’ medical marijuana modification mentioned that could create much more of a headache, with a restricted provide for sufferers, and steered the fee set a launch date statewide.

“They ought to speak with the cultivators and the dispensaries to determine when there’s going to be a adequate provide of the product accessible,” David Couch mentioned.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material is probably not revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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