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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

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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.

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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.

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Applications For Medical Marijuana Operators Weeding Out Recreational Entrepreneurs

Arkansas Public Media:

Click here for the full story.

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About RVR

Arkansas Medical Cannabis With a Mission

Our company, CSK hotels, a family business based in Fort Smith with roots in our community since 1980, will apply for cultivation facility and dispensary licenses in the River Valley with help from American Cannabis Company, an industry leader in safe and efficient cannabis cultivation and processing – our venture is River Valley Relief. One of our main motivators for becoming involved continues to be our family’s first-hand experience with the devastating effects of opiate addiction, and we intend to help turn the tide of abuse in our state.

Our commitment to work with patients and physicians:

No-Cost and Low-Cost Medicine for Patients In Need

River Valley Relief recognizes that there is a link between poverty and debilitating ailments and, although effective and safe, medical marijuana can be an expensive treatment option for patients as it is not covered by insurance. We recognize the burden this places on Arkansans, and we are committed to assisting those with a financial hardship. As many areas in our state have higher than average rates of poverty, aiding patients in need is especially important to us, and we are committed to providing safe access to quality medical marijuana for all patients through a Patient Hardship Financial Assistance Program, which will include no-cost and low-cost medical marijuana for patients who demonstrate need.

Patient and Physician Education

We will engage in a series of programs dedicated to educating patients and physicians about the medical benefits of and science behind marijuana.

To facilitate this educational programming, we plan to develop and implement a Continuing Medical Education (“CME”) series in affiliation with leading academic medical centers and hospitals in Arkansas. These events are designed and intended to draw a large audience of physicians, patients, and other medical professionals by offering marijuana-focused medical education from credible individuals and institutions. River Valley Relief will curate the educational component, secure nationally renowned experts and researchers in the field of medical marijuana as speakers, and support other general awareness efforts. This program will be developed to ensure professionals that focus on specific qualifying conditions, such as cancer, are able to understand the health and socioeconomic benefits that accompany legalizing medical cannabis.

Moreover, Arkansas is at a critical point in time regarding opioid abuse. Recent studies show medical marijuana providing a lot of hope on this topic, with observational studies finding correlations between states legalizing medical marijuana and a drop in painkiller prescriptions, opioid use, and deaths from opioid overdose. Our team is dedicated to educating the public about the nation’s epidemic of opioid overdoses and the benefits medical marijuana can provide, including working directly with local substance abuse service providers to advance dialogue and collaborate on harm reduction initiatives.

Research Assistance

We will develop academic partnerships with Arkansas colleges and universities to function as part of our research and education efforts with an overarching goal of improving community understanding and validating the success of the regulated medical marijuana programs in which we operate. We will assist both financially and materially in Arkansas-based research into medical cannabis. We will also seek out guest lecture opportunities at these schools and implement an internship program offering Horticultural / Plant Science / Chemistry / Biology Majors an opportunity to gain unique industry experience that directly aligns with traditional program curriculum.

 

In summary, River Valley Relief aims to do well while doing good in our state and our community through medical cannabis assistance programs for those in need, patient and physician education, and research assistance.