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Law Arkansas


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Under new proposal, anyone can become a marijuana processor in Arkansas
Marijuana processors are the middlemen between cultivators and dispensaries. They can create other forms the drug can be sold as such as gummies, lotion, etc.

The Medical Marijuana Commission met to come up with new rules for people who want to make medical marijuana into any other form other than the smokeable drug.

From gummies to compounds to even liquids, medical marijuana can be turned into quite a few different products.

Because of the many different ways marijuana can be consumed, the commission met Wednesday to regulate how people who make those products will operate in Arkansas.

According to the commission, processors of the various marijuana gummies, extracts, butter, etc, will be subject to many of the same regulations as dispensary operators.

Cultivators of the plant will provide it to the processors. The commission said that the processors cannot grow marijuana themselves.

However, there's no limit on licenses like there is for dispensaries and cultivators. Anyone who meets the requirements can operate as a processor, under the proposals discussed by the commission Wednesday.


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Wow, Arkansas and Oklahoma....who knew?! haha

Medical marijuana use continues flourishing in Arkansas

More than 3,000 pounds of medical marijuana has been sold in Arkansas since the first dispensary opened May 10 in Hot Springs, according to a news release.
Patients have spent a total of $21.35 million to obtain 3,098 pounds of medical marijuana, the release states.

The Releaf Center in Bentonville opened Wednesday, Aug. 7. The company has sold a total of 375.52 pounds of medical marijuana.

Eight days later, The Source opened in Bentonville, and since, the company has sold a total of 279.46 pounds of medical marijuana.

Acanza in Fayetteville opened Saturday, Sept. 14. A total of 259.49 pounds of medical marijuana have been sold since.

Purspirit Cannabis is the newest dispensary in Northwest Arkansas. The company has sold 6.70 pounds of medical marijuana since opening Wednesday, Nov. 20.


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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — Earlier this year, the Arkansas Department of Health suspended expiration dates on medical marijuana registry cards due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This allowed individuals to temporarily use their cards past the expiration date written on their card.
This temporary extension will end on September 30, 2020. Cards with an expiration date on or before September 30, 2020, will expire on September 30, 2020.

Cardholders need to submit a renewal application by September 11, 2020, to allow time for processing. Cards with an expiration date after September 30, 2020, will expire on the date written on the card.

To renew, cardholders will need to submit an updated physician written certification, patient application, copy of their Arkansas driver’s license or ID, and the $50 processing fee. Applications can be submitted here.


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Arkansas sees medical marijuana shortage, patients in need of medicine

The Arkansas Department of Health’s website reports that there are 83,779 active medical marijuana cards in the state, but dispensaries and patients are seeing an unprecedented amount of shortages.
“We had to raise our prices because we had just too many people coming through the shop,” Owner of Green Springs Medical marijuana dispensary in Hot Springs, Dragan Vicentic, said. He said he’s seen the shortage at his dispensary since June. They have a list of 75 different strands of marijuana and he was out a dozen this week. He said the shortage is growing each week and it’s impacting patient’s health.
“It’s more expensive, they’re having to go back to the streets possibly to get it from the people on the black market which is a terrible idea,” Vicentic said.

Vicentic says a lot of doctors turned patients away from opioids to marijuana.

“They can’t go back to their doctors and get their prescriptions for opioids again because the doctors won't give them to them so it’s a huge deal for the patients,” Vicentic said.
Christopher Miles is a patient and also runs a website that covers medical marijuana news in Arkansas.
“In Arkansas, we can’t grow our own medicine so we are left having to buy from the dispensaries and another thing with that too is it’s not just Arkansas patients buying from our dispensaries,” Miles said. He said that a lot of dispensaries are seeing business from Missouri residents who are allowed to grow their own marijuana but do not have dispensaries open right now.
Both agree that the issue is not having enough cultivators in the state.
“If you look at our neighboring states like Oklahoma they have 2,000,” Miles said. He said that Arkansas only has four cultivators and three that just got approved for their licenses but are months away from operating.
“It isn’t just a bunch of stoners whining about not having their product this is a lot of legitimate patients who have anything from cancer to diabetes or mental things or PTSD and they really just need their medicine."
Vicentic said the medical marijuana commission’s rule is one cultivator per every 6,000 patients. With almost 83,000 patients, he said there should be almost 14 cultivators in the state, not four. He is asking that a vote be held to allow the commission to release new licenses to new cultivators.


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Arkansas recreational cannabis campaign begins push for 2022 ballot​

By MJBizDaily Staff
November 1, 2021

A grassroots campaign in Arkansas has begun collecting signatures to place a ballot measure before voters next year, in the latest attempt to legalize recreational cannabis in the state.

The organization – Arkansas True Grass – has begun gathering the 89,151 signatures of registered voter signatures needed to qualify for the 2022 ballot. The deadline for signatures is July 8, the Arkansas Times reported.

Under the proposed measure, the state would launch a new unlimited-license adult-use market for entrepreneurs, similar to how some other rec states are structured, such as Colorado and Oregon.

That’s a stark contrast to the existing medical marijuana regulatory framework, which allows only up to 40 dispensaries (38 currently are operational) and eight cultivators (five are operating). Medical cannabis home grows are prohibited.

If the adult-use measure is ultimately victorious, however, anyone 21 or older would be allowed to purchase up to 4 ounces of marijuana per day and home-grow up to 12 plants of their own.

Recreational marijuana would be subject to an 8% state excise tax and a 5% local sales tax, the Arkansas Times reported.

But a spokesperson for Arkansas True Grass argued that the campaign’s free-market approach would drive down prices overall for consumers and patients.

Arkansas True Grass has tried twice before to make the statewide ballot, however, and failed both times – in 2016 and 2020.


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Majority Of Arkansas Voters Back Cannabis Legalization

Arkansans took a poll and they are in favor of recreational cannabis.​

Should Arkansas voters get the opportunity to decide on cannabis legalization at the ballot later this year, a new poll suggests the proposal just might have enough support to pass.
The latest edition of the Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll found that 53.5 percent of registered voters there believe that cannabis should be legal for adults aged 21 and older. Thirty-two percent said that cannabis should only be legal for medicinal purposes, while only 10.5 percent said that it should be broadly illegal for any reason.
Dr. Jay Barth, an emeritus professor of politics at Hendrix College who helped organize the survey, said that over “our time of polling, perhaps no issue has shown more movement than have Arkansans’ attitudes on marijuana legalization,” noting that the shift in attitudes dovetails with two separate efforts to legalize medical cannabis in the state.

“After an attempt at legalization of medical marijuana failed at the ballot box in 2012, Arkansas voters narrowly passed a revised proposal in 2016. While it took longer than expected for the marijuana bureaucracy—including certified growers and dispensaries—to be established, Arkansans have become used to the presence of visible, legal marijuana in the state. The question now is whether it is time for the next big step: the legalization of regulated recreational marijuana for adults in the state. Our survey suggests that Arkansas voters may be ready to take that step,” Barth said in his analysis of the poll results.
The findings should be encouraging to a group that is trying to place a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas on the state’s ballot in November.
Known as Responsible Growth Arkansas, the group launched in the fall under the leadership of Eddie Armstrong, a former Democratic lawmaker in the state.

In order for the measures to qualify for the ballot, advocates must gather a minimum of 89,151 signatures of registered voters –– equivalent to 10 percent of the number of ballots submitted in the 2018 election.
After voters approved a measure legalizing medical cannabis in 2016, sales officially began in 2019. A year later, the state had racked up more than $50 million medicinal pot sales.
Barth waded into the crosstabs of the survey, which was released on Tuesday, saying that “while a slight majority of the state’s voters support recreational marijuana, there are variations across key voting groups although there is increasing consensus opposed to criminalization of the drug.”
“Even among Republican voters, the most opposed to legalization at all, eight in ten support either medical marijuana or recreational marijuana. While a plurality of Republicans support stopping at medical marijuana as the policy of the state, very healthy majorities of Democrats (71%) and Independents (64%) support recreational marijuana. This may put Republican statewide candidates in a tough spot as they attempt to appeal to voters outside their party while maintaining their GOP base if the issue is before voters in the fall,” Barth said.
He continued: “Aside from political party, the greatest variation is shown across age groups. While seven in ten voters below 45 years support recreational cannabis and a slight majority of those 45 to 64 support the change, a plurality of the voters above 65 believe that maintaining the current legalization of medical cannabis only is the right place for the state’s policy. Men are also more supportive of recreational cannabis while women are more supportive of medical cannabis.”


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Arkansas Marijuana Campaign Files Lawsuit To Put Legalization Measure On Ballot After State Board’s Rejection

Arkansas activists on Thursday filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court, seeking to secure ballot access for their proposed legalization initiative. The legal action comes a day after the state Board of Election Commissioners ruled that the measure’s ballot title and popular name are misleading.

Last week, the secretary of state had certified that Responsible Growth Arkansas collected enough valid signatures from registered voters to qualify the proposal for the ballot.

The campaign’s new lawsuit accuses the election commissioners board, members of which raised concerns about possible voter confusion over language related to issues such as THC limits, of “thwarting of the will of the people and their right to adopt laws by initiative.”

“That ‘power lies at the heart of our democratic institutions,'” it says. “The Board has attacked that heart through its incorrect rejection of the ballot title.”

The suit says officials violated the state constitution and ignored prior Supreme Court precedent, “choosing instead to apply an overly stringent approach that denied the wishes of hundreds of thousands of Arkansans to have the opportunity to vote on the Amendment.”

The campaign also filed a motion for expedited consideration of the lawsuit, as the November election is just three months away and ballots need to be printed ahead of time. The secretary of state’s deadline to certify amendments for the ballot to county officials is on August 25.

Earlier this week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R)—a former Drug Enforcement Administration head—suggested it was a given that the measure would end up before voters and urged police to help campaign against it.

Should they prevail in court in qualifying the measure, activists say they feel confident that voters will approve it this November, especially considering how the campaign was able to gather more than double the required signatures for ballot placement.

Here’s what the campaign’s marijuana legalization initiative would accomplish:

-Adults 21 and older could purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis from licensed retailers.

-Home cultivation would not be allowed.

-The measure would make a series of changes to the state’s existing medical cannabis program that was approved by voters in 2016, including a repeal of residency requirements to qualify as a patient in the state.

-The state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Division of the Department of Finance and Administration would be responsible for regulating the program and issuing cannabis business licenses.

-Regulators would need to license existing medical cannabis dispensaries to also serve adult consumers, and also permit them to open another retail location for recreational marijuana sales only. A lottery system would award licenses for 40 additional adult-use retailers.

-There are no provisions to expunge or seal past criminal records for marijuana or to provide specific social equity licensing opportunities for people from communities harmed by the war on drugs.

-The state could impose up to a 10 percent supplemental tax on recreational cannabis sales, in addition to the existing state and local sales tax.

-Tax revenue would be divided up between law enforcement (15 percent), the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (10 percent) and the state drug court program (five percent). The remaining revenue would go to the state general fund.

-People who own less than five percent of a marijuana businesses would no longer be subject to background checks.

-The legislature could not repeal of amend the state’s medical marijuana statutes without voter approval.

-Local governments could hold elections to prohibit adult-use retailers in their jurisdiction if voters approve the decision.

-Individuals could now own stake in more than 18 dispensaries.

-There would be advertising and packaging restrictions, including a requirement that marijuana products must be sold in tamper-resistant packages.

-Dispensaries would be able to cultivate and store up to 100 seedings, instead of 50 as prescribed under the current medical cannabis law.

A former Arkansas Democratic House minority leader, Eddie Armstrong, is behind the Responsible Growth Arkansas constitutional amendment, which he filed in January.

The group is just one of several campaigns that have pursued cannabis reform through the ballot this year, though backers of competing initiatives have since acknowledged they wouldn’t be able to collect enough signatures to qualify this year.

Supporters of the separate campaigns, Arkansas True Grass and Arkansans for Marijuana Reform, have raised concerns with the provisions of the Responsible Growth Arkansas initiative, suggesting it would favor big businesses in the existing medical cannabis industry. Some have said they may look to 2024 to try again with their own approaches.

Lancaster previously told Marijuana Moment that the campaign hopes that won’t be necessary. His campaign feels that the constitutional amendment provides a sound infrastructure for reform that prioritizes regulations—and the plan is to push for further reforms in the legislature if voters approve legalization at the polls. That would include efforts to promote expungements, which isn’t addressed by the initiative.

Meanwhile, a poll released in February found that 54 percent of Arkansans favor full adult-use legalization, compared to 32 percent who said it should be legal for medical use only and just around 11 percent who said it should be outright illegal.

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