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Arkansas: Medical marijuana commission looking at 'community benefit' in applications

It's a waiting game for those hoping to get into the medical marijuana business, as the Medical Marijuana Commission is busy grading the hundreds of applications.
This business could impact those hopeful business owners and patients, but the general public will be affected by this drug, too. The commission has made an effort to make it a positive effect.
It wasn't cheap to turn in those stacks and stacks of papers that make up an application to grow or sell marijuana in Arkansas.

Advocates, regulators discuss future of medical marijuana in Arkansas

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.

One hopeful distributor, who didn’t want to be named pending the approval of his license, said applications averaged about 1,000 pages long. 


Applications due Monday to grow or sell medical marijuana in Arkansas

Quiet anticipation lines the walkway to the front door of the Department of Finance and Administration Sunday night in Little Rock. 

Doors were locked, offices empty, but in a few hours, last minute marijuana cultivation and dispensary applicants will come carrying lot a lot of paperwork to the Alcohol Beverage Control office. 

"We really anticipate that Monday is going to be an extremely busy day. The application is not something you bring up in a notebook, it's something you bring up on a dolly," Scott Hardin with the Arkansas Dept. of Finance and Administration said. 

Hardin said he's watched the lines grow with applicants over the past couple weeks. 


Medical marijuana physicians cropping up in Arkansas

Inside Dr. Tammy Post's medical clinic lobby on Willow Springs Road in Johnson, a silvery wall fountain trickles; beyond the water feature is a spacious suite of examination rooms. Post, a board certified family and osteopathic medical practitioner says she’s interested in alternative medicine but never imagined she would become an advocate for medical marijuana.

“I was one of those doctors that thought marijuana was all the myths we believed about a gateway drug,” she says. “I believed it to be illicit and dangerous, like ecstasy and heroin and cocaine.”


Medical marijuana industry expected to bring new jobs to Arkansas

A one-man testing lab in Greenbrier is poised to add up to seven employees, spend more than $1 million on equipment and buy several vehicles to capitalize on the coming sale of medical marijuana in Arkansas.

Kyle Felling, the owner of F.A.S.T. Laboratories, is one part of a burgeoning medical marijuana industry that's expected to create hundreds of jobs in Arkansas, according to industry experts and representatives.

"It's for medical use. Typically, the people will be immuno-compromised in some way or they've got some ailment going on, so you've got to make sure that it's safe for people to consume," Felling said of the marijuana. "That's where the laboratory comes in and my company comes in."


Without Banks, Lawmaker Calls AR Medical Marijuana Business Wild, Wild West

Future medical marijuana growers and sellers in the Natural State can't take their money to the bank, for now, that is.

After doing his homework, the state lawmaker who crafted the new cannabis laws has learned more money, more problems when it comes to doing business without banking assistance. 

"Other states in the earlier times when they started off had a huge cash flow in their economy," said Rep. Doug House, R-North Little Rock. "Warehouses full of cash, people having to pay all of their bills with cash, armored trucks backing up to courthouses to pay taxes. You've got to have a place to take this cash, get it off the streets."


No One Has Applied to Grow or Dispense Marijuana in Arkansas

After Arkansas legalized medical marijuana last fall, the state government created a deadline this September for people to apply to grow and dispense cannabis products. But according to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, the state's received zero applications to do either thing, creating doubt about the future of the state's industry.


Second Arkansas Medical Marijuana Industry Group Formed

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.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association announced Wednesday it will be the “leading voice for medical marijuana cultivators, distributors and businesses that serve the industry in the Natural State.” The media notice said the group also will be a lobbyist for the industry, educate those in the industry on “best practices,” and work to educate the public about the industry and “the safe use of the drug for medicinal purposes.”


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.


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