(via KARK) — From lobbyists and consultants to advocates on both sides of the medical marijuana debate, there was plenty of interest about the medical marijuana program.
Led by a state supreme court justice, members of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission were sworn in before their first ever meeting. Their task is to implement part of a constitutional amendment passed by voters that allows up to eight marijuana growing operations and 40 dispensaries across the state.
“The primary role for this commission is to determine the methods and requirements to license dispensaries and cultivation facilities,” said Joel Dipippa, DFA Office of Revenue Legal Council.
Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman was elected the committee’s chair. She said she wanted to serve to make sure the program is run correctly.
“Not everyone in the state voted for it so we have to be very conscientious of that and we have to do it right,” Tillman said.
Tillman declined to say how she voted but promised to implement the will of the voters.
The crowd was standing room only and some there were representing clients looking to get into the marijuana business.
“It’s going to be a highly regulated industry but very professional people, it’s not fly-by-night,” Consultant Michael Langley said.
Langley is a lawyer and former director of Alcoholic Beverage Control. He’s now a consultant who said interest is being shown by a variety of business sectors.
“It’s something new, it’s something that sounds exciting but until all of this gets flushed out in the next 90 days, you don’t really know who wants to be involved and who doesn’t want to be involved,” Langley said.
One of the major decisions the commission is facing is how many individual plants cultivation facilities will be allowed to grow at a time. It’s been a hotly debated issue in other medical marijuana states.
The commission will meet again next Tuesday to begin hashing details out.