The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association (ACIA) is a 501(c)(6) cannabis industry trade association advocating for laws, regulations and public policies that foster a healthy, professional and accountable medical cannabis industry in our state.
Our mission has three main components:
- Protecting patients
- Advocating for the industry
Knowledge is the main limit to the success of the medical cannabis business in Arkansas. The more that patients, physicians, and industry businesses know about medical cannabis, the better off the industry will be.
We hold patient education seminars in order to teach Arkansans about the science behind medical cannabis, how medical cannabis can treat the current qualifying medical conditions, how to find a physician to write a medical cannabis certification, and how to submit the application for a patient card to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).
We hold seminars geared towards the healthcare industry (nurses, doctors, and pharmacists) in order to educate them about medical cannabis and how it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Many physicians are hesitant to write medical cannabis certifications for their patients because they don’t understand the medical benefits of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant; this has not been taught in medical school. These seminars, which often award CEU credits, are designed to allow healthcare professionals to be able to have informed conversations about medical cannabis with their patients. As a reminder, doctors are not required to prescribe or recommend medical cannabis for their patients, they are just certifying that patients have a listed qualifying medical condition, as recognized by the ADH.
Business License Holders
We hold seminars to educate those who want to join the cannabis industry in Arkansas, in particular, operators of dispensaries and cultivation facilities. We’ve had seminars ranging from taxation, to extraction, to general business operations and security. We want to help industry participants operate better businesses, providing high quality and affordable cannabis to the patients of Arkansas.
Patients in Arkansas deserve high quality, safe, and affordable medical cannabis. We aim to promote cannabis product safety by educating our members on proper production, testing, and packaging procedures. We also protect patients by advocating against overly burdensome laws and regulations that would make medical cannabis more expensive in Arkansas. For example, we fought against proposed bills that would have prohibited the sale of cannabis in Arkansas until it becomes legal federally, we fought against bans on smoking cannabis, and we fought against a ban on cannabis edibles, which is often a preferred method of ingestion for the elderly.
We also aim to help patients by working to add additional qualifying conditions to the list recognized by the Arkansas Department of Health. We are working with the Arkansas Drug Policy Education Group on adding conditions known to be effectively treated by medical cannabis including ADD/ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depressions, migraines, and more.
Advocating for the Industry
We are charged with protecting those in the industry from overly burdensome regulations and laws that would infringe on the rights of patients to access their medical cannabis. We monitor new, proposed legislation and advocate against those that would do harm to the industry. For example, the state added a 4% value-added tax to the sale of cannabis at every step in the process (wholesale, processing, distribution, and retail). The law has a sunset provision, and we will strongly advocate that the tax cease as scheduled to keep medical cannabis as affordable as possible for Arkansas patients.
Board of Directors
Brandon Thornton, PharmD
Chair of Patient Advocacy Committee
Melissa Taliaferro, MD
Robbin Rahman, JD
Kyle Felling, PhD
Director of Hemp Advancement