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.

The amendment legalizes marijuana use in Arkansas for the first time in almost a century, though it's still against federal law. Supporters say the drug will mean comfort instead of misery and potentially less risk than other medications for some patients.

"It truly felt like a miracle," Fayetteville resident Emily Williams said last fall, describing marijuana's immediate soothing effect on her chemotherapy-induced pain and relentless nausea other medicines failed...

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