How Is Arkansas Handling Medical Marijuana?

Oklahoma legislators are looking at how bringing in medical marijuana may impact the state.

In November 2018, Oklahoma voters will have their say. But in 2016, Arkansas voters gave medical marijuana the OK.

Channel 8’s I-team went across state lines to see how Arkansas is handing the new business of medical marijuana.

Mulberry is a town of about 1,700 people that has a main street filled with empty store fronts. The closest stop light is more than 10 miles away. In a place where time moves at a slow pace, a new era is coming with the welcoming of a medical marijuana dispensary.

“My first reaction was, what would the people think?” said Mayor Gary Baxter. “I looked at the state of Arkansas, the majority of people voted for medical marijuana.”


Watch: Why nobody has applied to grow or sell marijuana in Arkansas

It's been nearly 8 months since Arkansas voters approved the sale of medical marijuana.

Some predicted a "Green rush" for businesses hoping to cash in. FOX13 discovered it may not be that easy to make a buck, and what we learned could possibly delay your chances of obtaining medical marijuana by the end of the year.

As of this week, not a single application to grow or sell medical marijuana has been turned in. Not one.

Beale Street business owner Bud Chittom and a group of investors hired a consultant, pulled the paperwork, and started the process to apply to operate a medical marijuana dispensary. Two weeks later?

"We went to the sidelines," Chittom said.


Medical Marijuana Means Losing Your Second Amendment Right in Arkansas

Your right to bear arms in Arkansas could be taken away if you apply for a medical marijuana card. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, you can't have both a medical marijuana card and legally own a gun because pot is still illegal on the federal level.

Robert Reed, a Navy Veteran who served his country for 16 year, suffers PTSD along medical conditions which medical marijuana would help.

Reed said, "I will not apply for a med license, and risk my livelihood and my safety."


Patients fear medical marijuana card could cost them their social security benefits

Some Arkansans still fear getting a medical marijuana I.D. card could impact their social security benefits. Arkansas is accepting applications for medical marijuana for patients, growers, and distributors. But how will the program work? How will the program affect social security benefits?

Chronic pain has taken a toll on Darlene Williams. "I have knots in my neck and it goes up to my head. I get bad migraines and I have peripheral neuropathy which means my arms and my legs hurt, my feet burn," she said.


Medical marijuana rollout sparks interest among Arkansas entrepreneurs

The state began accepting applications Friday from those wishing to grow and sell marijuana for medical use, but when the drug might make into the hands of patients is still anyone’s guess.

That will depend on how many apply for a limited number of licenses.

The only piece of the timeline set for the birth of this new industry is Sept. 18. By 4:30 p.m. that day, all dispensary and cultivation applications must be hand-delivered to the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division in Little Rock. Only then will the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission begin reviewing the applications.


Arkansas Will Accept Marijuana Applications Friday

Patients, growers, and prospective dispensary owners can apply Friday to state officials in Arkansas to join the state’s brand new medical marijuana program.

Arkansas voters approved medical marijuana in the state last year. Since then the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (AMMC), under the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration, was established to organize the program and work out its details.

Arkansas officials said they expect 20,000 to 40,000 patients to apply for a medical marijuana registration card. Those cards will cost $50 so even if 30,000 apply, the registration fee will cover the $1.5 million officials have said it will cost to run the marijuana program there.


Arkansas: Marijuana could soon be legally grown, sold along Missouri border

Medical marijuana dispensaries and growing farms could begin popping up along Missouri's southern border.

Officials with the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission last week finalized details and applications for prospective growers and vendors will become available to the public on June 20.

Under Arkansas law, there can be five cultivation sites statewide; for dispensaries, the state is divided into eight zones that each can have at least four dispensaries, for a total of 32 statewide.

Northwest Arkansas — Benton, Washington, Carroll and Madison counties — is defined as one zone.

Each of those four counties voted to approve medical marijuana in November, as did the state overall, by a vote of 53 percent to 46 percent.


Arkansas nears medical marijuana license deadline

Arkansas will soon begin taking applications from those who hope to grow and dispense medical marijuana, though the state's strong religious heritage and restrictions imposed by the Legislature will limit where greenhouses and distributors can operate.

Voters last November made Arkansas the first Bible Belt state to legalize medical marijuana, clearing its use by people with certain medical conditions. While setting up rules for licensing, legislators said growers must be at least 3,000 feet from churches, schools or daycares, while dispensaries must be 1,500 feet away. The limits will make it tough for some towns and small cities to host marijuana operations.


Medical marijuana brings new hopes, new risks to Arkansas

The changes medical marijuana brings to Arkansas will likely be less widespread than advocates hope or opponents fear, at least at first, recent history and research suggest.

The voter-approved constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana use will soon fall into place. The state plans to start taking license applications for shops to distribute marijuana products and cultivation facilities in July. The people who qualify to use and possess those products could be able to apply for the necessary state cards even sooner.


Arkansas: Emergency Medical Marijuana Rules to Take Effect May 8

The Arkansas Legislative Council leadership set in motion the key players in the state's new medical marijuana law from seed to sale.

The council's approval of emergency rules Wednesday allowed them go into effect Monday at noon as required by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016.

"Everybody knows what the rulebook is, how the game is going to be played," said State Rep. Doug House, R-North Little Rock, who crafted the legislation. 

Hopeful cultivation facility and dispensary owners are obtaining land, equipment and employment options, while doctors consider patient certification and pharmacists question how to dose the drug. 


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