Issue 6 – Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016: A review of key points

The 23-page PDF of Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016 (Issue 6 on the Nov. 8, 2016 ballot) was posted to the Arkansas Department of Health website on November 30th, 2016. Here’s what you should know:

What are the qualifying conditions to have legal access to medical cannabis in Arkansas?

Qualifying conditions include: cancer, glaucoma, HIV, hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Tourette syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, PTSD, severe arthritis, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease; or a chronic or debilitating disease/medical condition (or its treatment) producing: wasting syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, intractable pain (that has not responded to medical interventions for more than six months), severe nausea, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms. Arkansas Department of Health is granted power to approve additional qualifying conditions.

How do qualifying patients gain access to medical marijuana and what are the rules?

Patients will gain access to medical cannabis by being diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, with written certification provided by a medical physician (doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathic medicine) that the potential benefits of using medical cannabis for the condition would likely outweigh the health risks. Patients must apply for a Registry Identification Card through the Department of Health. Qualified patients with disabilities and/or under 18 years of age can still access cannabis medicine through a registered designated caregiver.

A qualified patient or caregiver cannot possess more than 2.5oz of usable cannabis in a 14-day period.

An out-of-state visitor who has a medical cannabis card issued in their state of residence for a qualified medical condition in Arkansas is safe to use cannabis and can purchase it from a dispensary (rules of this purchase are to be set forth by the Department of Health).

The Department of Health has 120 days to adopt specific rules for administering the amendment and 180 days to adopt specific rules for considering additional qualifying conditions.

Medical cards expire after a year, or earlier if the physician indicates a specific time-use on the certificate that is less than a year. Medical card fees will be defined by the Department of Health.

What are some of the current regulations for dispensary and cultivation facility licensing?

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Division and the Medical Marijuana Commission (to be created) will administer and regulate the licensing of dispensaries and cultivation facilities. The Commission has 120 days to adopt rules to administer and regulate cultivation and dispensary applications and licensing.

This includes setting maximum license fees, which cannot exceed $7,500 for an initial dispensary license or $15,000 for an initial cultivation license. Applications must commence being accepted by June 1, 2017. An application must include (without limitation):

  1. Application fee
  2. Legal name
  3. Physical address
    1. Dispensaries must be 1,500 feet from a school, church, or daycare
    2. Cultivation facilities must be 3,000 feet from a school, church, or daycare
  4. Name, address, DOB of agent
  5. Zoning restriction statement

License holders must be seven-year residents of Arkansas with a 60% ownership interest in the cultivation facility or dispensary.

Arkansas Dispensary Licensing Details

At least twenty, but no more than forty dispensary licenses will be issued – with no more than four in each county. At least four, but no more than eight, cultivation facility licenses will be issued. An individual can only own interest in one cultivation facility and one dispensary.

A dispensary can have fifty mature plants and may process, package and sell their own product. Dispensaries can accept cannabis seed from any individual lawfully entitled to possess cannabis seeds, seedlings, or plants under the laws of the state in which the individual resides. They can also contract their plant count to a cultivation facility.

Arkansas Cultivation Facility Licensing Details

A cultivation facility can possess a reasonable amount of usable marijuana necessary to meet the demand for, and need of, qualifying patients – an amount that will be determined by the Commission and the Department of Health. A cultivation facility can only sell useable marijuana to another cultivation facility or dispensary.

Additional Regulatory Measures for Arkansas Medical Marijuana Dispensary and Cultivation Facilities

Dispensaries and cultivation facilities must:

  1. Be incorporated in the State of Arkansas
  2. Implement a security protocol
  3. Maintain accurate recordkeeping for up to three years of:
    1. Disposal of non-distributed marijuana
    2. Each transaction including amount of cannabis, amount of money exchanged, and registry ID
  4. Conduct initial inventory and biannual inventory
  5. Have a locked/secured facility
  6. Not dispense more than 2.5oz in a 14-day period and verify the dispensing of cannabis would not result in the patient possessing over 2.5oz in a 14-day period
  7. Coordinate the tracking of dispensed cannabis with the Department of Health

Cities, towns, or counties can not prohibit the operation of a dispensary or cultivation facility. They can only enact reasonable zoning regulations, which must be the same as those for a licensed retail  pharmacy.

The sale of useable marijuana is subject to state and local sales tax (at the same rate as other goods).

What are the next steps if you are considering applying for an Arkansas medical marijuana dispensary and/or cultivation facility license?

Whole Plant Technologies offers a aeroponic/hydroponic hybrid grow tray and cannabis grow system that is proven to be 30% more profitable compared to other industry standard commercial marijuana growing techniques. Our trays and systems are designed for greenhouse and/or indoor cannabis cultivation and allow for 365-day perpetual growing of safe and high quality cannabis. Whole Plant Technologies can provide you the trays, system, install the system, and provide service plans on the system.

Whole Plant Technologies also offers cannabis consulting services with experience assisting companies through the licensing process in states where recreational and/or medical marijuana has been legalized.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Grow Tray System and Services offered, please visit Whole Plant Technologies online. You can also contact us for more information and we will be happy to answer all of your questions.

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