Channel 5 News: Many Wait Until Deadline Day To Turn In Medical Marijuana Cultivation, Dispensary Applications

Read the full article at KFSM Channel 5 News.

While the number of applications are still being counted, nearly 200 cultivation and dispensary applications were made on deadline day (Sept. 18), bringing the total number of applications combined to 275.

“I expected it would be like this because there was no incentive to turn in the applications earlier,” said David Couch, executive director of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association.

In the end, there will only be five cultivation facilities and 32 dispensaries across the state. Couch expects medical marijuana to be available to patients no later than June 1, 2018. It could be as early as mid-March.

Storm Nolan and his brother Kane Whitt turned in their application on Thursday (Sept. 14). They’re hoping to transform a vacant warehouse on E. Street in downtown Fort Smith into one of the first cultivation centers in Arkansas.

“A lot of work went into it,” Nolan said.

Not only are they wanting to use the 83,000 sq. ft. space for growing medical marijuana and processing it into various products, they also applied to open a dispensary.

“Our proposed dispensary is just south of Zero Street near Rheem,” Nolan said.

Talk Business & Politics: Cash concerns rising on medical marijuana and Trump administration policy

Read the full article at Talk Business & Politics.

A growing concern within the state’s medical marijuana community has been whether a bank will step up to process possible millions of dollars in cash generated by the fledging industry, which is expected to be up-and-running in early 2018.

In a June 27 advisory that addressed frequently asked questions, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission was asked if state officials were aware of any banks that will work with growers and sellers of medical pot once operations begin in Arkansas. In its response, the Commission said it “does not comment on the business operations of third parties and does not maintain lists of any such services that may be offered by third parties.”

 

After the November election in which Arkansas voters approved medical marijuana, Robert Smith and Blake Lewis of Little Rock law firm Friday, Eldredge & Clark issued an alert to Arkansas bankers that even though voters approved Amendment 6, financial institutions providing financial services to a marijuana business could face charges of aiding and abetting money laundering and racketeering. They also said banks could be at risk when approached by marijuana related businesses.

“The cultivation and dispensary facilities to be licensed under the Amendment will need bank accounts. Unfortunately, Marijuana remains illegal under federal law,” Smith and Lewis wrote.

Rep. Doug House, R-North Little Rock, the chief sponsor of more than 50 medical marijuana-related passed during the legislation session, said he is “scared to death” that federal officials may come into Arkansas and shut down the startup industry if certain measures are not in place to address the cash handling issues that may emerge.

According to Washington, D.C.-based New Frontier Data and other cannabis industry analysts, one of the biggest problems facing pot farmers and retailers and other marijuana-related business (MRBs) is that most operate cash-only business models because production and the sale of pot is still illegal at the federal level, which opens FDIC-operated banks up to government seizure.

Talk Business & Politics: Tri-state medical cannabis business expo coming to Little Rock in December

Read the full article at Talk Business & Politics.

With the launch of medical marijuana in Arkansas starting in months, the medical cannabis industry is coming to Little Rock for a tri-state conference.

The two-day expo will be held on December 6-7 at the Statehouse Convention Center. The Ark-La-Tex Cannabis Business Expo will be hosted by Imperious Expo + Directory and the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association (ACIA).

 

The event will offer Arkansans a chance to meet with hundreds of current industry experts from around the country. Representatives from all areas of the cannabis industry will be in attendance, from cultivation, production, dispensaries and testing, to security, marketing, and media outlets, according to organizers.

“The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association is excited to team up with Eric Norton at Imperious Expo to bring the first cannabis industry expo to the Arkansas area,” said Storm Nolan, President of the ACIA. “Imperious has a good track record of conducting successful industry events in other states, and we’re glad that he’s chosen Arkansas as the location of his next expo covering Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas – states that are now just forming their medical cannabis programs. We expect many great speakers and presenters to be on hand to help educate those entering the cannabis industry, and we think education is the best way to make sure that the cannabis industry in Arkansas is successful.”

The expo does offer opportunities for sponsorships and exhibitors. For more information, click here.

MJINews: Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association Brings IRS Revenue Agent with Specialty in Cannabis Taxation to Little Rock Today

Read the full article at Marijuana Industry News.

The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association is pleased to announce their Tuesday, September 5th Medical Cannabis Federal Taxation Seminar at the Comfort Inn & Suites Presidential from 6-7pm.

Featuring Little Rock native Sarah A. Vestal, PhD, a revenue agent with the Internal Revenue Service with a specialty in cannabis taxation, this critical event will educate prospective dispensary and cultivation facility applicants on the ins and outs of IRS code 280E and will provide examples of how the IRS actually conducts audits of cannabis businesses.

Robert J. Clock, CPA, an Arkansas accountant on the board of the ACIA, will talk about the implications of 280E from the tax accounting perspective.

The IRS 280E statute is a major hurdle for cannabis businesses when tax time comes around because it states that only expenses that are considered Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) are able to be deducted for federal income tax purposes. This can lead to much higher federal income tax burdens when compared to normal, non-cannabis businesses.

ArkansasOnline: Medical marijuana business in Arkansas worries banks

Read the full article at ArkansasOnline.

The medical marijuana business in Arkansas will not be cash only, as feared by opponents during last year’s campaign for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment.

But banking services for the business will be expensive, secretive and legally dubious, according to representatives of the financial industry.

Right now, medical marijuana banking is tentatively allowed under guidance from federal regulators. According to federal figures, 368 banks and credit unions were serving the industry nationally in March, an increase of 63 from a year prior.

“The fact is that the legalization in Arkansas is not a defense for nor a cover for the legality by the federal laws, and all banks — whether they’re state chartered, nationally chartered or anything else — are under the federal laws and regulations,” said Bill Holmes, president of the Arkansas Bankers Association.

“I’m not on a side for or against medical marijuana, but I understand why folks are concerned when you look at the problems that have arisen in some of the other states. It is a cash business at this point. With what we’ve had in Little Rock, let’s be honest, do you want to inflame that and have cars driving around with bags full of $100 bills? I don’t think so.”

Holmes said bankers want to see Congress pass a law allowing banks to serve the medical marijuana industry but added that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

U.S. Rep. French Hill, a Republican who represents central Arkansas and serves as majority whip on the House Committee on Financial Services, said in an interview that he was no fan of marijuana legalization, but he would like federal lawmakers to study the matter of banking for the industry.

“You’ve got all these hybrid states that are collecting funds that are in some states like California, finding ways into the financial system through certain unnamed credit unions, but that’s obviously not an ideal way to do it,” said Hill, a former banker.. “So, I’ve urged hearings on this. People at the federal level are not going to just — in an unstudied way — deal with this.”

A total of 29 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but Congress has prohibited the Department of Justice from spending any money on enforcement to prevent the implementation of state laws that allow medical marijuana.

Both Storm Nolan, president of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, and David Couch, the Little Rock lawyer who sponsored the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment that was approved by voters in November, said at least one bank has committed to serving the industry in the state, though they declined to name any institutions.

Jason Martin, chief executive officer of Natural State of Kind, said he has worked with financial institutions in other states. His business, which plans to open both a cultivation facility and dispensary if granted licenses, became the first applicant to go public in an announcement on Thursday.

KNWA: Marijuana Expo Coming to Arkansas

Read the full article at KNWA.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas will host a marijuana business expo in December.

The Ark-La-Tex Cannabis Business Expo will take place at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock on December 6 and 7, according to the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association.

Representatives from all different areas of the marijuana industry will attend, including cultivation, production, testing, security, dispensaries, marketing and more.

“The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association is excited to team up with Eric Norton at Imperious Expo to bring the first cannabis industry expo to the Arkansas area,” said Storm Nolan, president of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association. “Imperious has a good track record of conducting successful industry events in other states, and we’re glad that he’s chosen Arkansas as the location of his next expo covering Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas – states that are now just forming their medical cannabis programs. We expect many great speakers and presenters to be on hand to help educate those entering the cannabis industry, and we think education is the best way to make sure that the cannabis industry in Arkansas is successful.”

For more information on the event, click here.