KASU

Medical Marijuana

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

In 2016, Arkansas voters passed a constitutional amendment allowing for medical marijuana sales.  In the 21 months since its passage, legislators have adopted rules, a commission has processed applications, and the courts have dulled out legal opinions.  The bottom line is, there still isn’t any medical marijuana for sale in Arkansas, and the prospects look dim to any change in that diagnosis.   Talk Business’ Wes Brown and Roby Brock discuss the most recent Medical Marijuana Commission meeting.


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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas panel has approved a rule that would allow it to hire an outside consultant to help review and score hundreds of applications the state has received from businesses that want to sell medical marijuana.

Arkansas issues 5 medical marijuana cultivation licenses

Jul 11, 2018
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission announcing the first 5 applicants to receive a cultivation facility license to grow medical marijuana.
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' Medical Marijuana Commission has awarded licenses to five cultivation companies after an injunction against issuing the licenses was lifted Tuesday.

Medical Marijuana Commission to explore hiring consultant

Jul 3, 2018
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission announcing the first 5 applicants to receive a cultivation facility license to grow medical marijuana.
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission took the first step Monday toward hiring an independent consultant to review about 230 applications for dispensary licenses, a move intended to allay public concerns following allegations of impropriety during the cultivation licensing process.

Five months after the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, a voter-approved ballot initiative, officially took effect in early November of 2016, handgun carrying laws greatly expanded in Arkansas as well. But gun owners who register as medical marijuana patients are federally prohibited from purchasing or even owning a gun. 

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Amidst more revelations of problems tied to Arkansas’s nascent medical marijuana program, the architect of the state’s voter-approved amendment is calling for commissioners to abandon their process of scoring cultivation applications.

Attorney David Couch says the merit-based scoring system has been plagued with allegations that have rocked public confidence in the process.

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Incoming Senate President Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, says he wants members to vote later this year to open up the Senate chamber and its committee meetings for live-streaming.

The Arkansas Supreme Court today overturned a lower court's ruling, and thus, an appointed commission and a state agency may resume rollout of the state's medical marijuana program, stalled since March.

But the court's majority opinion hewed closely to a procedural consideration, and its chief justice appears to be cautioning the Medical Marijuana Commission to re-evaluate its procedures.

The whole scene may end up back in court before long, says one lawyer close to the process.

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for the state to launch its medical marijuana program, reversing and dismissing a judge's ruling that prevented officials from issuing the first license for businesses to grow the drug.

Today the state Supreme Court takes up the matter of the state’s medical marijuana program, stalled since March. If it upholds Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s decision nullifying the Medical Marijuana Commission’s top five picks for marijuana growing licenses — indeed the very selection process the Commission used — it could push the forecast for available medical marijuana into 2019.

That would mean money out of the pockets of many early investors such as entrepreneur Brian Teeter.

John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist
Talk Business and Politics

Medical marijuana--will it ever launch in Arkansas?  Last week, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen went further than many thought after his temporary restraining order turned into a ‘null and void’ declaration on the state’s process for awarding 5 cultivation facilities.  Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she’ll appeal, but the ruling has brought chaos to what was already a bit of a chaotic process for medical marijuana.  John Brummet, columnist with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, discusses this news with Roby Brock of Talk Business.


Brandon Tabor / KASU News

A March 21 ruling by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen that essentially halted the implementation of medical marijuana use in Arkansas has been appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. It is not certain when the court will take up the case.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen on Wednesday declared the state Medical Marijuana Commission’s process of scoring and awarding Arkansas’ first highly-prized licenses to five pot cultivators as “null and void” under the constitutional amendment approved by voters in the November 2016 election.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge said Friday he'll rule by the middle of next week on whether to allow the state to issue its first licenses for companies to grow medical marijuana after hearing complaints from an unsuccessful applicant challenging the permitting process.

(Left to Right):  Rex Nelson, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Wes Brown, Talk Business & Politics; and Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics
Talk Business and Politics

Everyone needed spring break this week to recover from last week’s end of the fiscal session and three-day special session of the Arkansas Legislature.  Two gentlemen who did not take the week off are Talk Business’ Wes Brown and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Rex Nelson.  Talk Business’ Roby Brock sits down with Brown and Nelson to talk about the sessions, medical marijuana, and Governor Hutchinson’s big “smaller” idea.


Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen
KUAR Public Radio

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked the state from awarding its first licenses for companies to grow medical marijuana in response to complaints about the state's process for reviewing applications for the facilities.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas regulators are receiving a flurry of challenges to the licensing of the state's first medical marijuana growers.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission announced last month the five companies that scored high enough to receive a license to grow medical marijuana. The cultivation licenses are expected to officially be issued at Wednesday's commission meeting.

The five companies selected to cultivate medical marijuana in Arkansas should soon be able to set up shop and begin growing. Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance and Administration, said Friday that since the top companies were named last week by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, all have met their  required financial obligations.

"Over the past week we’ve been receiving the licensing fees from the companies, we’ve been receiving the performance bonds, and as of this morning, all five companies have paid," Hardin said.

Wes Brown with Talk Business and Politics
Talk Business and Politics

Northeast Arkansas and the Delta were the big winners at last week revealing of the 5 cultivation centers that will launch to grow medical cannabis in Arkansas.  4 of the 5 cultivation facilities will be located in the Delta.  So, what happens next?  Could there be lawsuits from those dismissed?  How quickly will the centers be built and start hiring?  And, when will you be able to buy medical marijuana if you qualify in Arkansas?  Roby Brock and Wes Brown with Talk Business and Politics discuss.


Down Main Street - Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Paul Sableman / Wikipedia

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) - A medical marijuana firm originally from northeast Arkansas has chosen to build its cultivation plant in the Pine Bluff area.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission announcing the first 5 applicants to receive a cultivation facility license to grow medical marijuana.
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas took the first step Tuesday toward launching its medical marijuana program, as state regulators named the five businesses they intend to license to grow the drug.

The state Medical Marijuana Commission announced the top applications for cultivation facilities, which will grow and provide cannabis for dispensaries to sell under a 2016 voter-approved measure. The panel is expected later this year to license up to 32 dispensaries to sell the drug.

When the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announces its five highest scoring applicants to own and operate a marijuana cultivation facility for the state's germinating medical marijuana industry, it will be a surprise to the Medical Marijuana Commission who scored the 95 applicants.

"These 95 applications were scored individually by each commissioner. They were then brought back to the Alcoholic Beverage Control office [and] turned in individually; so at this point the commissioners are also going to learn along with everyone else those top five scores," Scott Hardin, spokesman for the department, said Monday.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission plans to announce the first five groups that will be allowed to legally grow medical cannabis, but potential growers don't know what to make of the reveal.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences are conducting a study to gauge residents' views of medical marijuana before and after it's available in the state.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that representatives from several colleges outside the state approached university researchers last year about the survey opportunity.

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a directive that reversed an Obama-era policy regarding Marijuana laws.  Sessions called for justice department officials to enforce federal law regarding marijuana usage; a law which is in conflict with many states, including Arkansas, which has legalized cannabis.  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with attorney Erica Gee for analysis on how Session’s move will impact Arkansas’ fledgling medical marijuana industry.   


Brandon Tabor / KASU News

Despite the belief by Gov. Asa Hutchinson that medical marijuana use will likely remain consistent under President Donald Trump, others were uncertain of the impact a decision by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will have on the state’s medical marijuana industry, which is projected to also help the state’s economy.

Bill Essert hasn't lived in Arkansas in years. He's a businessman for an agriculture technology company in Cotati, California — BioTherm.

"What we do, we’re showing two things, the O2 Tube, which is all about dissolved oxygen and enhancing the amount of dissolved oxygen by infusing oxygen into your irrigation water, and the benefits of this is enhancing growth, plant growth, higher yields, less fungus and more yield for the amount of bud as well as higher levels of THC."

His parents still do, though. Live in Arkansas, that is — Conway.