Lawmakers Appoint Medical Marijuana Commission


(via KARK) — We now know the group of regulators who will make key decisions about the state’s medical marijuana program.
Lawmakers held a press conference Wednesday at the capitol to make the announcement.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will control who gets licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana in the state.

“It’s a position I hoped that I would never be in,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson, a former head of the DEA. He was flanked by top leaders in the state house and senate who also oppose medical marijuana as they announced their picks.

“We have to remember this is not recreational use,” he said.  

The five member Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission consists of two medical doctors, a doctor of pharmacy, a lawyer and a former senate chief of staff.

The commission is in charge of issuing licenses to between four and eight cultivation facilities and 20 to 40 distributors.

Senate President Jon Dismang says the commission will hold its first meeting within 15 days.

“The people voted, they put forward this proposal and it was adopted,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to recognize that.”

Hutchinson says he favors a lottery system to select from applicants who meet minimum requirements, similar to the way liquor store licenses are doled out.  
He too made a point to say he aims honor the vote of Arkansans even though he continues to have reservations.

“It remains a violation of federal law,” he said.

All three officials were asked how their appointees voted on the medical marijuana amendment. The senate president said his voted against. The governor and house speaker declined to answer.
David Couch, sponsor of the amendment, said he was surprised there was no one from business selected because, in his view, the commission’s major role will be regulating the medical marijuana industry.

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