Times Record: Medical marijuana topic for Fort Smith’s Coffee with the Chief

Read the full article at the Times Record website.

The monthly community roundtable, Coffee with the Chief, was held at Calico County, 2401 S. 56th St., Thursday morning, and this month’s discussion centered on medical marijuana coming into the area and rumors about the Civil Service Commission.

“We’re planning on applying for a cultivation facility in Fort Smith, so we wanted to work with the police,” said local resident Storm Nolan.

“We want to make sure it’s more of a partnership, not a problem, and we can work together so marijuana doesn’t end up in the hands of kids or people who don’t have patient cards,” said Nolan’s stepbrother and future business partner, Kane Whitt. “We want to have a very cooperative relationship with the police regarding this.”

Both Nolan and Whitt said that Fort Smith police chief Nathaniel Clark was very receptive to what they had to say, and they were surprised that there wasn’t more resistance to their business venture. According to them, Clark stated that the public and the police are a family.

“We’ve received a lot of support from local business leaders, local community leaders,” said Whitt. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive.”

“I’ve been quite shocked by how receptive people have been,” said Nolan. “I think everyone has a story about how their lives have been affected by opioid addiction, whether it’s a family member or a friend or themselves.”

Opioid addiction is precisely why Nolan and Whitt want to bring cannabis cultivation here. They said that their mother was a prominent lawyer before her opioid addiction brought her down to bankruptcy and then death.

“PTSD, cancer patients, people with glaucoma,” Nolan added. “There are all kinds of people who could have benefited from this medicine, and instead, they had to turn to opioids.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States in 2015, there were roughly 30,000 opioid-related deaths. An estimated 15,000 of them were from prescription medication, an estimated 13,000 from heroin and another 2,000 from other sources or causes.

“She was the youngest graduate of the University of Arkansas law school, super smart lady,” said Nolan of their mother. “Her doctor prescribed her opiates over 20 years ago because of some chronic pain she had, and it was just a steady downhill slope from there.”

Both the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the FDA have stated that cannabis doesn’t meet their criteria for medical use due to a ”…lack of evidence regarding safety and the high risk of abuse”, citing not enough large-scale clinical trials that show the benefits of the marijuana plant — as opposed to its cannabinoid ingredients — outweigh the risks.

“It’s about as addictive as coffee, so there’s not as much of a risk of dependency,” said Nolan.

Either way, the conversation was a productive one for the stepbrothers, and they were impressed with Clark.

“I feel he was very receptive,” added Whitt. “We talked about maybe even some training opportunities that could be had.”

But not everyone was there to talk about medical marijuana. Local resident Mike McEvoy came to clear up the rumors he’d heard about the Civil Service Commission.

“He laid to rest some of the myths about that,” said McEvoy, who’s lived in the area for 37 years. “The rumor had been that the chief was trying to eliminate the Civil Service Commission, and the truth is that he is not.”

McEvoy said his main concern was for the future of patrol officers.

“If they eliminated the commission, I couldn’t see where individual patrolmen would have any recourse if they were disciplined in any way,” added McEvoy. “That’s been put to rest.”

And Roy Rhodes, a cousin to the auto dealership family, said it was his first time meeting Clark.

“I’m just here to meet the chief,” said Rhodes as he sipped his coffee. “I used to know all the police chiefs. Carl Byers, Bill Young, all of them.”

US News: Arkansas to Accept Medical Marijuana Card Applications

Read the full story at US News & World Report.

By TAFI MUKUNYADZI, Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ medical marijuana industry will ramp up in the next week, with the state poised to accept applications from potential patients, growers and distributors.

Beginning Friday, the state Medical Marijuana Commission will accept applications from those hoping to grow or supply marijuana, while the Health Department will take applications from those hoping to benefit from the first marijuana-as-medicine program in the Bible Belt. The application periods will run until Sept. 18.

State officials expect anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 people to seek permission to use the drug for a number of health problems. It will cost $50 to apply and permits must be renewed yearly.

Potential patients must submit written certification from a physician to obtain a registration card, demonstrating that the doctor has fully assessed the patient’s medical history. The application must show that there’s an established physician-patient relationship and that the patient has a certain qualifying medical condition.

All applicants must have a driver’s license or state-issued ID card, and those under age 18 need the consent of a parent or guardian to apply.

Family Council president Jerry Cox, who opposed the medical marijuana plan, fears that some may try to “game” the system and obtain marijuana even if they don’t have one of the 18 medical conditions listed in the law. The health issues include intractable pain, cancer, glaucoma, a positive HIV/AIDS status, hepatitis C, Tourette’s syndrome, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and severe nausea.

Cox said intractable pain and severe nausea are conditions that are difficult to medically prove and that doctors have to take patients at their word when recommending them for medical marijuana. He said that state lawmakers could’ve placed more restrictions on medical marijuana, like blanket bans on edibles and smoking.

“They missed numerous opportunities to make the whole process safer for citizens,” he said.

Lawmakers did pass a bill that would prohibit the smoking of medical pot anywhere tobacco smoking is banned. The law also bans anyone under 21 from smoking medical marijuana, prohibits smoking the drug around anyone under the age of 14 or knowingly smoking the drug in the presence of a pregnant woman.

Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe had opposed medical marijuana and testified in front of a Senate legislative committee during the most recent session about how it could be used. He worried attractive product packaging could ultimately expose children to marijuana’s active agent, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

“Edibles concern me more than the smoking aspect,” Bledsoe told the panel. “It’s been very difficult to determine the THC levels in some of these products.”

The Family Council said despite the missed opportunities for more regulation, it appeared the state had done a good job setting up rules and regulations.

“It is difficult to set up an entire industry overnight,” Cox said. “If we were doing this 20 years from now, I’m sure the Legislature would be wiser.”

Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association founder Storm Nolan, who is seeking permission to cultivate medical marijuana at Fort Smith, said medical marijuana’s time has come.

“The benefits for people suffering cannot come soon enough,” Nolan said. He said his mother died after becoming addicted to opioids prescribed for chronic pain.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Fox News: Arkansas nears medical marijuana license deadline

Read the full story at Fox News.

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.

“Some cities are reviewing where churches, schools and daycare centers might preclude the location of cultivation facilities and dispensaries,” said Don Zimmerman, executive director of the Arkansas Municipal League.

Arkansas had 6,697 congregations, synagogues and Muslim houses of worship in 2010, according to a study by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. Zimmerman said many towns have so many churches that it could be difficult to site a greenhouse or dispensary close to where people live — “especially in small, compact cities.”

For example, the survey showed 94 congregations in Malvern, a town of 11,000 that covers 9 square miles. Add daycares and schools and the number of potential sites is limited further.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is set to begin accepting applications for cultivation and dispensary licenses for on July 1. Applications will be accepted for 90 days, and then officials will score and process them before awarding licenses based on merit. The cultivation license application fee is $15,000, and a $100,000 fee is required from an applicant who has been selected to receive a license.

The panel expects to issue five cultivation licenses initially, with as many as eight eventually approved.

Applications for a dispensary license must include a $7,500 fee. Up to 32 dispensary licenses will be awarded and distributed within eight geographic zones to assure that the facilities are available equally throughout Arkansas.

Already, the state Board of Health has approved rules governing the issuance of marijuana-user registration cards and drug testing and labeling. Qualifying conditions for a medical-marijuana card include cancer, severe arthritis and Crohn’s disease, along with chronic conditions that cause symptoms such as “intractable pain,” severe nausea or seizures.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Jake Bleed says there’s no current estimate of the number of license applications that could potentially be filed.

“However, medical marijuana has always drawn significant interest from Arkansans, and we are preparing to process a large number of applications,” Bleed said. The issue had been on the ballot previously, following a number of earlier attempts to put the issue before voters.

AR-Canna, run by president and CEO Brian Faught, wants to build a number of greenhouses on 5 acres near Fayetteville. Faught said he wants to hire 35-40 people to start and eventually have 80 to 90 people working.

“Fayetteville was the only choice for me besides central Arkansas because they have the population to draw from for a labor pool,” he said. Under the state’s guidelines, workers must be at least 21 and registered as a marijuana cultivator by the state. Those convicted of certain felonies are not eligible to apply.

“This isn’t some backwoods, little industry,” Faught said. “It’s going to be run by very successful business people.”

Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association founder Storm Nolan and his brother are also pursuing a cultivation facility license and hope the industry could be an economic boon to his hometown of Fort Smith. Nolan says he will probably be able to employ 20-30 people if he is able to open a facility.

Nolan says his mother died after an addiction to opioids prescribed for her chronic pain, and that he and his brother wish she could’ve had another option for her treatment.

“We thought if there was any other solution that wasn’t as addictive, we would have taken it,” Nolan said. “The benefits for people suffering cannot come soon enough.”

Ozark News Radio: Arkansas nears medical marijuana license deadline

Read the full story at Ozark Radio News.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — 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.

“Some cities are reviewing where churches, schools and daycare centers might preclude the location of cultivation facilities and dispensaries,” said Don Zimmerman, executive director of the Arkansas Municipal League.

Arkansas had 6,697 congregations, synagogues and Muslim houses of worship in 2010, according to a study by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. Zimmerman said many towns have so many churches that it could be difficult to site a greenhouse or dispensary close to where people live — “especially in small, compact cities.”

For example, the survey showed 94 congregations in Malvern, a town of 11,000 that covers 9 square miles. Add daycares and schools and the number of potential sites is limited further.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is set to begin accepting applications for cultivation and dispensary licenses for on July 1. Applications will be accepted for 90 days, and then officials will score and process them before awarding licenses based on merit. The cultivation license application fee is $15,000, and a $100,000 fee is required from an applicant who has been selected to receive a license.

The panel expects to issue five cultivation licenses initially, with as many as eight eventually approved.

Applications for a dispensary license must include a $7,500 fee. Up to 32 dispensary licenses will be awarded and distributed within eight geographic zones to assure that the facilities are available equally throughout Arkansas.

Already, the state Board of Health has approved rules governing the issuance of marijuana-user registration cards and drug testing and labeling. Qualifying conditions for a medical-marijuana card include cancer, severe arthritis and Crohn’s disease, along with chronic conditions that cause symptoms such as “intractable pain,” severe nausea or seizures.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Jake Bleed says there’s no current estimate of the number of license applications that could potentially be filed.

“However, medical marijuana has always drawn significant interest from Arkansans, and we are preparing to process a large number of applications,” Bleed said. The issue had been on the ballot previously, following a number of earlier attempts to put the issue before voters.

AR-Canna, run by president and CEO Brian Faught, wants to build a number of greenhouses on 5 acres near Fayetteville. Faught said he wants to hire 35-40 people to start and eventually have 80 to 90 people working.

“Fayetteville was the only choice for me besides central Arkansas because they have the population to draw from for a labor pool,” he said. Under the state’s guidelines, workers must be at least 21 and registered as a marijuana cultivator by the state. Those convicted of certain felonies are not eligible to apply.

“This isn’t some backwoods, little industry,” Faught said. “It’s going to be run by very successful business people.”

Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association founder Storm Nolan and his brother are also pursuing a cultivation facility license and hope the industry could be an economic boon to his hometown of Fort Smith. Nolan says he will probably be able to employ 20-30 people if he is able to open a facility.

Nolan says his mother died after an addiction to opioids prescribed for her chronic pain, and that he and his brother wish she could’ve had another option for her treatment.

“We thought if there was any other solution that wasn’t as addictive, we would have taken it,” Nolan said. “The benefits for people suffering cannot come soon enough.”

Talk Business: Interest high for Arkansas’ fledgling cannabis industry

Read the full story at Talk Business & Politics.

In anticipation of applications and rules for the industry to be finalized, there has been a crescendo of interest from all areas of the state’s fledgling medical marijuana industry, said Storm Nolan, spokesman for the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association (ACIA).

He said ACIA is planning a number of seminars on the legal cannabis industry, ranging from sessions on marijuana extraction for non-smoking purposes and educational meetings for patients and the medical field to conferences on insurance bonding, physical security and cash-handling for the retail side of the business.

 

Nolan is also a Fort Smith-based real estate developer who plans to file an application for a marijuana cultivation facility in Fort Smith. He believes it will take about six months to begin selling the product. They will begin constructing a 16,000-square-foot shell building in Fort Smith before July 1. If they win a license, they’ll complete it as a marijuana facility, and if not, it will become something else.

“I think most people you will talk to will tell you it has been hard to find banks that are going to be willing to bank (proceeds) from the industry,” Nolan said of the 29 states where medical marijuana laws have been enacted.

The Fort Smith businessman said ACIA held a marijuana testing seminar in Little Rock on Tuesday that attracted a number of prospective people and companies interested in submitting applications for a dispensary or cultivation facility.

“We had a packed house. We had to add chairs multiple times,” he said.

Still, there have been concerns expressed by some medical marijuana supporters that the expensive application and licensing fees will curtail the application process. During the legislative session, some lawmakers pushed for higher fees for the purpose of ensuring applicants are adequately prepared to support what will likely be a mostly cash business.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission published June 19 the requirements for submitting bids for up to five operators to grow and cultivate medical marijuana under the constitutional amendment that was approved by voters in the November 2016 election. Those applications will be accepted June 30 with the final deadline being Sept. 18. State policymakers have said they expect the first sale of medical marijuana in Arkansas to take place in early 2018.

Once applications for cultivation licenses are delivered to the Commission, those accepted will be time-stamped and applicants must then submit a payment voucher for the required fee of $15,000. Applicants will be able to modify a submitted application at any time prior to the final submission deadline, which will be subject to the state Freedom of Information Act. Applicants must also provide proof of assets or a surety bond in the amount of $1 million and proof of at least $500,000 in liquid assets.

At the recent seminar, Nolan said there were only two businesses interested in filing an application for cultivation facilities or dispensaries. But Nolan believes there are a many more interested in getting in on the ground floor of the state’s medical marijuana industry and will show their interest during the 90-day application period.
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Editor’s note: This story is the second in a series of stories on implementation of medical marijuana in Arkansas. The stories are scheduled to be published prior to June 30. Link here for the first story in the series.

ArkansasOnline: Two Arkansas cities order medical-marijuana moratoriums; temporary bans raise legal questions

Read the full Article from ArkansasOnline.

Two Arkansas cities have imposed months-long bans on medical-marijuana facilities, a test of local control as prospective growers and sellers prepare to vie for state licenses beginning June 30.

Siloam Springs’ Board of Directors on Tuesday adopted a 180-day moratorium on medical-pot businesses with a unanimous vote that came two weeks after Hot Springs city directors passed a similarly worded 90-day ban.

The cities’ decisions to not offer local business licenses to dispensaries and cultivation facilities could reverberate for longer than their bans because potential businesses have just 90 days to apply for a limited number of state licenses. Siloam Springs’ moratorium would extend well beyond the state’s Sept. 18 deadline to submit applications.

“That really takes that whole city out of contention, doesn’t it,” Storm Nolan, co-founder of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, said of the Northwest Arkansas border city.

The voter-approved Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment says that local governments cannot prohibit marijuana growers and distributors from operating in their jurisdiction unless voters approve a ballot issue to keep them out.

“We are not prohibiting it,” Siloam Springs City Administrator Phillip Patterson said. “We have created a stay for a period of time. Cities have historically had a right to put a stay on certain uses in order for the city to review its code, update its code or adopt its code.”

Mark Hayes, director of legal services for the Arkansas Municipal League, said both cities are his clients and that neither previously spoke with him about temporary bans. He said he learned of the action this week and couldn’t comment on whether their moratoriums might violate the state constitution.

“I am in the process of consulting with them about this very thing,” Hayes said. “The only real comment that I can make is, generally speaking, moratoriums in Arkansas law are not disfavored.”

David Couch, the Little Rock lawyer who sponsored the constitutional amendment, was out of the country and not available for a telephone interview Thursday but said in a statement that the amendment is “clear as a bell.”

“The amendment provides that by initiative people can prevent dispensaries and cultivation facilities,” Couch said. “The amendment also provides for zoning same as pharmacy so any other restrictions are unconstitutional. … I’ll bring suit against any city or county that does not comply with [the] amendment.”

An estimated 30,000 Arkansans — or about 1 in 100 residents — are expected to apply for medical-marijuana registration cards in the first year, said Meg Mirivel, public information officer for the Arkansas Department of Health, which will issue cards to qualifying patients in exchange for a $50 fee and a doctor’s note.

The Medical Marijuana Commission will license up to 32 dispensaries in Arkansas — as many as four in each of eight geographic regions — and up to five growing facilities across the state.

Although Hot Springs and Siloam Springs have temporary bans on businesses, their residents can obtain medical-marijuana cards and buy cannabis outside of city limits.

Language in both moratoriums say state rules and regulations about dispensaries and cultivation facilities were not yet finalized, though that was not the case for the Siloam Springs resolution.

State Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Jake Bleed said the rules were finalized June 16, four days before the city board passed the measure. Emergency rules were in place since May 5, Bleed said.

“Our rules are final,” Bleed said, noting that doesn’t mean they can’t be changed. “We could go through rule-making process again in the future.”

Generally, two laws govern where dispensaries and cultivation facilities can function. One requires a buffer zone around schools and churches. The other bans cities from imposing stricter placement requirements on medical-marijuana facilities than they do on traditional pharmacies.

Siloam Springs and Hot Springs are the only Arkansas cities and towns known to issue moratoriums, Hayes of the Municipal League said.

Siloam Springs’ Patterson said he didn’t want to comment on what open questions he had about the rules because he hadn’t read the finalized version.

“I have looked at the published versions, yes, but I will reserve any comment [until the final rules are published],” Patterson said, adding that the city would need time after the rules were finalized to determine whether and how to amend its land-use law.

Section 14 of the constitutional amendment does not prohibit cities “from creating reasonable zoning regulations applicable to dispensaries or cultivation facilities,” as long as the regulations are the same as those in place for licensed retail pharmacies.

However, it says, “this section does not allow a city, incorporated town, or county to prohibit the operation of dispensaries or cultivation facilities in the city, incorporated town, or county unless such a prohibition is approved at an election. …”

Of 1.1 million voters statewide in November, 53 percent supported amending the state constitution to allow medical use of marijuana.

Siloam Springs, which abuts the Oklahoma state line and is home to 16,000 residents, narrowly opposed the initiative, with 2,742 voters against (52 percent) and 2,514 in favor, City Attorney Jay Williams said in a report to city directors.

The city’s resolution says that operators who acquire state Medical Marijuana Commission licenses to operate in Siloam Springs will not be grandfathered into current zoning restrictions.

“Any person who purchases, erects or maintains any marijuana or marijuana-related activity during the regulatory exclusion will do so understanding the risk of being subject to enforcement,” the resolution says. “Cultivation and/or … distribution prior to the moratorium’s expiration … will neither acquire ‘nonconforming’ nor ‘grandfather’ status.”

Hot Springs, home to nearly 36,000 residents, anchors Garland County, where 53 percent of about 40,000 voters supported the initiative.

A Hot Springs spokesman said City Attorney Brian Albright recommended the moratorium, which city directors unanimously passed by ordinance. Albright, who was at a conference Thursday, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Siloam Springs City Director Brad Burns, who supports medical marijuana, voted in favor of the moratorium. He likened the action to similar temporary bans on breweries after the city transitioned from “dry” to “wet” and a moratorium on mobile homes the city also passed Tuesday.

Burns said he expects the city’s residents will propose a referendum to ban marijuana business in early 2018.

“Even though I believe in medical cannabis and the benefits of it, we need to figure out the regulation,” Burns said. “At the end of the day, I work for the citizen. I’ve got to represent the collective. I’m not going to sit here and beat on a dead drum.”

Information for this article was contributed by Brian Fanney of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Print Headline: Two cities order medical-pot moratoriums; Temporary business bans in Siloam Springs, Hot Springs raise legal questions

ArkansasOnline: State readies applications to grow, sell medical pot

Read the original story at ArkansasOnline.

With the last legislative hurdle cleared, Arkansas is poised to start taking applications for licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana.

After a final review by the Arkansas Legislative Council on Friday, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance and Administration said the final forms will be posted online Tuesday.

From that point, would-be business owners will have 90 days to find the best way to tell the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission why they should be chosen. One hopeful — Storm Nolan of Fort Smith — said growers and sellers need to sweat the details.

“When it comes to application time, everyone really needs to be able to have a good plan in place for all of these little things — it’s a ton of little things if you think about it — everything from strain selection to trying to forecast what products are going to be demanded by the market to what sort of childproof packaging everyone is using,” he said.

[INTERACTIVE MAP: Click here for a look at how laws related to marijuana have evolved over the past two decades.]

Nolan, who is also a co-founder of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, said he will apply for both a growing license and a selling license in Fort Smith. In the meantime, the association is hosting seminars to educate future business owners and patients.

The rules approved by lawmakers Friday included a last-minute tweak by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission that detailed how it will score the largest sections of the application.

Nolan praised the framework.

“I think everybody’s got the framework that we need to proceed,” he said.

One uncertainty — a current lack of licensing rules from the commission for transporters, distributors and processors — means dispensaries and cultivation facilities will have to complete those tasks themselves, Nolan said.

“That adds a little complication to the plan, but it’s nothing that good companies can’t overcome,” he said.

Jake Bleed, a spokesman for the Department of Finance and Administration, said the Medical Marijuana Commission is not expected to meet for the next couple of weeks while the first applications roll in.

However, he said the wheels of government will keep turning with the hiring of employees dedicated to overseeing the program.

For example, Alcoholic Beverage Control will hire six new agents to perform inspections and one lawyer to specialize in medical-marijuana issues. The division oversees enforcement after the Medical Marijuana Commission grants licenses.

The state is also planning to procure a “seed to sale” tracking system to aid law enforcement in keeping medical marijuana from being illegally diverted.

Bleed said there’s no way to know how many applications will come in. Therefore, he said, the commission has not set a date to finish ranking the applications through its merit system.

Though the voter-approved Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment does not allow multiple dispensaries to have the same owners, that won’t stop some hopefuls from applying in more than one zone.

There are eight in total, meant to keep all the dispensaries from concentrating in densely populated areas like central and Northwest Arkansas. Applicants that win licenses in multiple districts will have to choose one and forfeit the rest.

The rules reviewed Friday allow for 32 dispensaries and five cultivation facilities. They also specify fees.

Application fees for dispensaries are $7,500, with half that amount refunded if an application is not successful.

Cultivation-facility applications will cost $15,000. Unsuccessful applicants will receive $7,500 back.

All dispensaries will face a $15,000, one-time licensing fee and a $22,500 fee to renew the license annually. Dispensaries also will need to provide proof of assets or a $200,000 surety bond and proof of at least $100,000 in liquid assets.

Successful cultivation-facility applicants will have to pay an annual $100,000 licensing fee and submit an initial $500,000 performance bond. Cultivation applicants must provide proof of assets or a surety bond of $1 million and proof of at least $500,000 in liquid assets.

David Couch, who sponsored the Medical Marijuana Amendment, said Friday that Gov. Asa Hutchinson had kept his promise to implement the voter-approved measure despite opposing it during the November election.

Couch said the state rules are clear.

“You know exactly what they want,” he said of the commission.

Applicants should be able to meet those to the letter, said Couch, so the intangibles — represented in a bonus-point section — will be key.

Those cover community benefit — such as substance abuse plans, compassionate care plans, education aimed at patient and public safety, and Arkansan ownership, according to a draft application. Bonus points also can be awarded for being affiliated with a medical doctor, providing jobs in poor areas and demonstrating ownership diversity.

“Other than the rule that people from out of state can’t have a card, the rules are workable,” he said. “How do you tell the little kid from Memphis that they can’t have the same medicine that the kid from Arkansas has?”

The out-of-state rule came from the state Board of Health. Robert Brech, the Health Department’s chief attorney, cited a U.S. Department of Justice memo that referred to preventing the diversion of medical marijuana from states where it is legal to states where it is illegal. That prevention would meet a goal of enforcing federal laws that outlaw marijuana.

The Health Department is responsible for processing applications for medical-marijuana cards and for the possible future addition of other qualifying medical conditions not cited in the constitutional amendment.

Couch said he expected the first marijuana to be sold under the program in spring next year.

“The longer this has gone since it’s passed, I think more and more people every day are seeing the medical benefits and the economic benefits to this program,” he said. “I think the more mature the program gets — and it gets more mature every day — the more happy with it the people of Arkansas are.”

Bleed said the dispensary and cultivation-facility applications will be available Tuesday at mmc.arkansas.gov. They will be accepted starting 10 days later, on June 30.

A Section on 06/17/2017

Print Headline: State readies applications to grow, sell medical pot

American Cannabis Company, Inc. Announces It Has Secured A Contract With A New Client In Arkansas [That’s Us]

Read the original story at MarketWired.

DENVER, CO–(Marketwired – Jun 8, 2017) – American Cannabis Company, Inc. (OTCQB: AMMJ) (“ACC”), a full-service business-to-business consulting solutions provider, and seller of ancillary products to the cannabis industry, today announced it has secured its first client in the state of Arkansas. ACC will be working with this client to strategically plan business operations in effort to win a license to legally operate a vertically integrated cannabis business within the state.

ACC will provide end-to-end solutions for this new client, which include operational planning activities, conceptual design work, application completion, deployment of operations and ongoing remote management. ACC expects to leverage this contract to secure additional revenues through long-term consulting agreements and potential future sales of ancillary products.

Terry Buffalo, CEO of American Cannabis Company, commented: “We are very happy to have secured our first client in the state of Arkansas. This group is comprised of a top-notch team with aim and determination to win one of the first licenses to cultivate and distribute medical cannabis within the state. Being a native to Arkansas, it is very special for me to be able to participate in this new market as we look to assist our client in the effort to secure licensure.”

About American Cannabis Company, Inc.

American Cannabis Company, Inc. offers end-to-end solutions to existing and aspiring participants in the cannabis industry. We utilize our industry expertise to provide business planning and market assessment services, assist state licensing procurement, create business infrastructure and operational best practices. American Cannabis Company also developed and owns a portfolio of branded products including: The Satchel™, SoHum Living Soils™, The Cultivation Cube™ and The High Density Cultivation System™. We also design and provide other industry specific custom product solutions. The building and development of our brands and product suite is based on our Geoponics Philosophy, “the art and science of agriculture in soil.”

For more information, please visit:

www.americancannabisconsulting.com
www.americancannabiscompanyinc.com
www.sohumsoils.com

Forward Looking Statements

This news release contains “forward-looking statements” which are not purely historical and may include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include, among other things, the development, costs and results of new business opportunities and words such as “anticipate”, “seek”, intend”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect”, “project”, “plan”, or similar phrases may be deemed “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with new projects, the future U.S. and global economies, the impact of competition, and the Company’s reliance on existing regulations regarding the use and development of cannabis-based drugs. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that any such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in our annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For more information, please visit www.sec.gov.

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

Lawmaker: ‘The hometown feel never included ‘Reefer Madness'”

Click here to read the article at the Joplin Globe.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — 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.

Applicants have already approached cities and planning commissions in Benton, Washington and Carroll counties about rezoning for dispensaries and buying land to grow marijuana, and the next couple of months will be a race to learn who will be granted licenses, and where. The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will start accepting applications on June 30 and will accept them for 90 days.

Kevin Gambrill, director of the Benton County Planning Commission, said last week that he received both formal and informal inquiries from people interested in buying land to grow marijuana.

“We have acreage and lots of land in Benton County, so (growing operations) are typically what I see coming for us,” he said last week.

One of those potential buyers for Benton County, contacted recently by the Globe, did not want to publicly discuss plans any more, saying he and his partner backed off after finding a lack of community support and having difficulty getting financing. He added that he did not want to talk on the record for the fear that the stigma surrounding marijuana would affect his other business.

Under the measure passed last fall, cities also are allowed to pass ordinances to keep medical marijuana out of their city limits, though no city in Northwest Arkansas has moved to do so.

Bella Vista Mayor Peter Christie said no one has approached the city’s planning and zoning commission yet, nor the City Council, about opening a dispensary or growing marijuana.

“So we will just see what transpires and if someone does approach us, we will follow the state law and take it from there,” Christie said.

In Rogers, city spokesman Ben Cline echoed Christie’s perspective.

“As far as the idea of allowing dispensaries in the city, the short answer is the city of Rogers is going to follow state law,” Cline said. “We wouldn’t treat them any differently from any other business that needs to be approved.”

Tourism impact?

But State Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, whose district includes part of Benton County, said he has taken plenty of calls on the issue. Benton County residents passed the measure by the same percentage as the state as a whole.

“The most calls I get are, ‘How can I grow? I have a greenhouse, can I grow this?'” he said last week.

He also said that views in his district on growing and dispensing medical marijuana are mixed.

Initially, he was not supportive of legalizing medical marijuana and thought it brought the state one step closer to legalizing marijuana for recreational use. He said he eventually came around to the idea of passing legislation that would allow patients to use marijuana products that have low THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that gives people a high.

“I wish I would had gotten on the bandwagon sooner,” Douglas said.

But he added that he didn’t want marijuana dispensaries or growing operations in Benton County, arguing that it could ruin Bentonville’s tourist industry, which strives to give visitors a “hometown” feel.

“The hometown feel never included ‘Reefer Madness,'” Douglas said, alluding to a 1936 film that has been used to both warn and satirize marijuana users.

He noted that for patients, Washington County, which passed the measure by 59 percent, wasn’t too far away. Earlier in the month, the Fayetteville City Council approved the sale of five acres to Jacksonville resident Brian Faught to open a growing operation if he is chosen to be one of the state’s five growers.

Calls to Faught’s business and home last week were not returned.

Eureka Springs

But if Douglas wants to keep the businesses out, Eureka Springs Mayor Butch Berry welcomes them.

Having medical marijuana dispensaries would be a “natural fit” for a town that was once renowned for its healing waters, Berry said. He also said the dispensaries had the potential to spur economic development.

Though Carroll County passed medical marijuana narrowly, with 51 percent in favor, Berry said his community voted overwhelmingly to support the issue. More than 10 years ago, the Eureka Springs City Council voted to make marijuana arrests a low priority for law enforcement. The 2006 vote to make it a “low” priority was nearly two-to-one.

“Marijuana users don’t speed at 90 miles per hour like the alcoholics,” Berry said. “I’ve never heard of two people smoking marijuana and getting into a fist fight.

“It’s fear of the unknown,” he said of the opposition to marijuana.

State officials estimate that 20,000 to 40,000 of Arkansas’ 3 million residents will ask for medical marijuana cards. To be approved for a card, a physician needs to certify that the resident has one of the dozen conditions listed in state law.

Berry also said he’s had at least four groups approach him about opening a dispensary, one of which also wanted to open a growing operation in the county. The Globe reached out to the prospective Eureka Springs’ applicants but did not hear back from them.

Missouri perspective

McDonald County Sheriff Michael Hall said drugs have always crossed the state line, whether from Oklahoma or Arkansas, adding that there hasn’t been a lot of conversation about the impact Northwest Arkansas growing operations or dispensaries might have in his county. He also said that it is a two-way street, and that some things are legal in Missouri, such as Kratom, a Southeast Asian plant with opium-like properties, but illegal in Arkansas, and noted that until recently Benton County was dry, which is why there were many liquor stores on the Missouri side of the line.

Barry County Sheriff Gary Davis said that his department will continue to tackle drug trafficking as best it can with the resources it has.

“We will have a little more awareness and continue pursuing drug trafficking in our normal fashion,” Davis said. “If it becomes a bigger problem we will reevaluate and see what resources we need to put to it.”

Davis said that Barry County residents already have access to marijuana — it grows naturally out in the county, and growers have been arrested in the past for patches in Mark Twain National Forest.

“When we find people with small amounts, we might do a little more questioning of where they got it and why they have it to fill out our knowledge base,” Davis said.

Davis said one of his biggest concerns will be impaired drivers crossing into Missouri, though he said interstate traffic is more of the focus for Missouri State Highway Patrol than the Barry County Sheriff’s Department.

Even though many Barry County residents visit with Arkansas doctors, they have to be an Arkansas resident to qualify for a medical marijuana card.

No quick turnaround

Though Arkansas legalized medical marijuana months ago, it could be a while before large-scale growing operations get on their feet, Storm Nolan, with the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, said last week. It is now legal for marijuana from outside of the state to be sold within the state for medical purposes and dispensaries are allowed to grow up to 50 marijuana plants.

Under the name River Valley Relief, Nolan and his brother and stepdad plan on applying for both cultivation and dispensary licenses. The family has already set aside tracts of land in Fort Smith, where they live, and gotten the city council to pass necessary rezoning requirements.

Still, even if all goes according to plan and River Valley Relief is granted a license, Nolan said constructing the operation and growing the crop, which takes four months, would push their first harvest well into 2018.

Being a marijuana grower won’t be easy, he said. Because of federal regulations, most banks won’t authorize a line of credit and so applicants need to find other sources for capital, or have their own, and profit wouldn’t be guaranteed within the first two years, Nolan said.

He also said that for him, providing marijuana for patients is personal. Years earlier, his mother died from an addiction to opiates, prescribed to her for chronic pain caused by a joint disorder.

“I remember thinking back in the day, if there was any alternative to opiates, she might have lived,” Nolan said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.