Region 8 News: Cannabis as medicine seminar held in Jonesboro

Read the full story at Region News.

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) –

A group held a cannabis as medicine seminar on Saturday to educate the Jonesboro community about the drug.

The seminar was hosted by the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association.

Event organizers said they hoped to better educate area patients and providers about medical marijuana.

Both doctors and medical cannabis experts came together to speak to a crowd of around 200 people during the event.

“Patients here are going to learn step by step how to not be a criminal anymore and how to be a patient,” said Cory Hunt, a member of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association.

Hunt said the group also stressed the importance of patients, letting their doctors know about their desire for a medical cannabis prescription now.

“You need to talk to your doctor now about getting legal,” he said.  “So that the industry really understands how much cannabis they need to grow.”

This was the group’s fifth event they have hosted in the state.

40/29 News: Group helps Arkansans apply for medical marijuana cards

Read the full story at 40/29 News.

A group is helping guide Arkansans through the processes of getting a medical marijuana card.

The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association is holding a meeting at the Mulberry Community Center from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Organizers said the last time they held this type of meeting, the place was packed, so they had to find a larger venue.

“We really have been able to use these events to show people what we’re really bringing here, and how patients are using cannabis to get well and not get high, and I think the people in Mulberry understand that,” said Corey Hunt, a board member for the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association.

The group is also planning similar events in other parts of the state over the coming months. Click or tap here to visit the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association website to learn more.

“I’m suffering and other people are suffering for every minute longer that it takes,” Roger Halpin of Mulberry told 40/29.

Halpin has already been approved for medical marijuana. He says it will help with his chronic pain.

“It’s pharmaceuticals or it’s cannabis,” Halpin said. “Which is safer?”

5 News: Man Who Lost Loved One To Breast Cancer Speaking Out About Medical Marijuana

Read the full story at Channel 5 News.

MULBERRY (KFSM) — A man who lost someone he loved to breast cancer years ago is making his way around the county teaching people about the effects of medical marijuana.

His destination today was Mulberry. He went for a seminar on cannabis as medicine.

“I’ve been traveling the world for the last five years, meeting different cannabis parents in the state,” said Corey Hunt of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association. “We present real science from real doctors, with real experience and patients who are seeing real results. So, once you see that and you see it’s not what you think it is, I think that people really open up their minds.”

The group was educated by doctors who also spoke about how to target certain types of cancer.

“There are a lot of people that voted for this – 53% of our state — that are frustrated that they can’t go out and buy medical cannabis.”

Nolan says the process to bring medical marijuana to Arkansas is taking longer than expected – but that those involved are working their hardest.

“So it’ll be here, but it’ll be longer than expected.”

“Hopefully, mid spring, patients will be able to have access to this. The commissioners are still choosing who’s going to grow and who’s going to sell this. But hopefully in a few months. It’s coming,” added Hunt.

Nolan said a doctor talked about how the state plans to regulate medical marijuana — saying they’ll make sure every step of the process is tested by an accredited lab.

KNWA: Opioid Crisis Hits Close to Home For Brothers Trying to Grow Med. Pot

Read the full article from KNWA.

FORT SMITH, Ark. – Two Fort Smith brothers know the pain of losing someone to a prescription drug overdose all too well.

“It’s so sad to see someone so good to be taken down by pills,” said Storm Nolan. “She was a smart, bright lady.”

Nolan and his brother Kane Whitt lost their mother to an opioid addiction at a young age.

The pain from a jaw disorder drove their mom to prescription pills.

“Over time, it just became where she had to take more and more then ultimately it became a dependence she couldn’t do anything about,” said Nolan.

The pair want to grow medical marijuana at a cultivation center in Fort Smith.

“If you start with a true passion for it..it’s not work it’s just doing what we can to make society better,” said Nolan.  “I firmly believe Cannabis is the alternative that people really need.”

Nolan said he’s grateful the opoid emergency is now being addressed at the federal and state level.

“It’s about time we all start talking about it. And talking about constructive ways to deal with it,” said Nolan. “I think more Arkansans will be able to have these conversations about why did we end up here? What do we do? And I think cannabis will be a big part of what do we do.”

Nolan said if there license to grow pot is approved, 5% of their profits will go to a local drug rehab center.

They will also provide low or no cost medical marijuana to people who can’t afford it.

“Being able to go to work and know I was helping people each and every day that’s a great feeling. And if we are fortunate to get a license, that’s going to be the real driving force behind it,” explained Nolan.

The brothers said they should know if their license if approved by March.

As for what their mom would say knowing they’re trying to help people with these addictions, ” “I think she would be very supportive of what we’re doing,” said Nolan.

KARK: Could Be Spring Before AR Canna-biz Blooms

Read the full article at ArkansasMatters.com.

Medical Marijuana Commission gives status update Monday

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission met Monday for the first time since its September 18th application deadline. A little less than a month later, the status of most of those 322 applications is still up in the air.

A rough timeline given by the commissioners Monday means it could be well into next spring before this budding industry actually starts to bloom.

“It’s a little ambiguous,” said Storm Nolan, President of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association. Nolan is also an applicant and came to Monday’s meeting for an update on the status of applications.

“We have a beautiful 83,000 square foot warehouse just sitting there ready to go,” Nolan said.

That warehouse could stand empty for months to come. While commissioners set December 15th as a soft deadline to start grading cultivation applications, it will take even longer to tackle dispensary applications, as there are far more.

Alcoholic Beverage Control, tasked with the preliminary application review, says it also found discrepancies between the language in the rules and the language in the actual applications, causing further delays.

Nolan says he feels for the patients who are waiting for access to the medication, making it hard for some to keep patience during this process. Based on the number of applications that met the minimum criteria, it could be until spring of 2018 when licenses are awarded.

One thing’s for sure…Nolan says he isn’t just sitting around as he waits to hear if his application gets the green light, or if all his hard work goes up in smoke.

“Lots of work still to do,” he said.

ArkansasOnline: Arkansas medical marijuana licensee picks pushed into ’18

Read the full story at ArkansasOnline.

Deluge of applications to sell, grow drug overwhelms commissioners

An avalanche of applications to grow or sell medical marijuana in Arkansas, and the tedious work of preparing them for final review, mean a final decision of who receives one of the state’s coveted pot business licenses won’t be made until well into next year, officials said Monday.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, which met for the first time Monday since the Sept. 18 deadline to apply for a cultivator or dispensary license, set Dec. 15 as the date when it will start receiving applications for review, with names and other identifying information redacted to assure unbiased decisions.

But even that deadline may have to be pushed back, the commissioners conceded, and hundreds of applications will still come in on a rolling basis afterward, possibly for months.

For Arkansans who voted last November to legalize medical marijuana, there was no good approximation Monday as to when it could be available on dispensary shelves, said Department of Finance and Administration attorney Joel DiPippa, who advises the five-member commission.

In a positive sign for patients with qualifying conditions, however, the state finance department announced Monday that at least four dispensary applications had been submitted in each of the eight regions of the state that the commission had previously agreed on in order to spread the shops out.

Indeed, each region received four times the number of applications for a dispensary as the commission will ultimately award.

The southwest corner of the state received the fewest number of dispensary applications, 16, while the northeast corner received the highest, 44.

Pulaski County, the state’s most populous county, received the most dispensary applications for any single county, 26.

In total, the state received 227 applications for dispensaries, and 95 applications for cultivation centers, where the plants will be grown.

The commission is not planning to limit how many cultivation centers go in one area, and the majority of those applications came from the fertile Delta.

After hearing from DiPippa and Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Mary Robin Casteel about the amount of personnel — 10 — and time that was being put into “depersonalizing” each application, the commission voted to start receiving the cultivator applications first on Dec. 15.

While the commissioners begin to score those applications, agency staff will start going through and redacting dispensary applications, and handing them over to the commissioners region by region.

“Our goal is not to delay at all, our goal is to meet these requirements,” DiPippa said, referring the need for the commission to score each applicant impartially, without knowing the identity of those behind it.

In addition to depersonalizing each application, staff has to go through a separate redacting process that will meet the requirements of Arkansas’ public records law, so that the applications can be released to the press and the public, DiPippa said.

It’s also taking longer than expected to have all the applicants screened through an FBI background check, DiPippa said, and some of the last-minute applications are starting to come back with technical issues, such as a smudged fingerprint.

Storm Nolan, the president of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association and the backer of an application for a dispensary and cultivation center in Fort Smith, said he was not surprised by the wait.

“The ladies working at the [Alcoholic Beverage Control office] are amazingly cool, calm, collected,” handling hundreds of applications, Nolan said. “Kudos to them.”