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Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission – Jan. 26th Meeting Highlights

The meeting has concluded, here were the live updates – most recent at the bottom:

  • The chairwoman is not at the meeting today – all other commissioners are present.
  • Travis Story is running the meeting.
  • They’re discussing awarding dispensary applications by population instead of just by congressional district.
    • The argument is that there might not be adequate dispersion of dispensaries if only awarded by lottery by congressional district.
    • This plan would equate to approximately one dispensary per 97,000 people.
  • Dr. Roman is advocating for the AMMC not micromanaging the location selection of dispensaries.
  • The Department of Health confirmed that only Arkansas residents will be eligible for medical marijuana cards – no out of state patients will receive Arkansas cards.
  • Currently discussing the point values of the merit-based application for cultivation facilities – merit only versus merit then lottery:
    • For the current draft cultivation facility application see our Resources page: https://arcannabis.org/resources/
    • The Connecticut application is one the bases for the current Arkansas draft rules: http://www.ct.gov/dcp/lib/dcp/drug_control/mmp/pdf/producer_rfa.pdf
    • The Illinois application is another they’re looking at.
    • James Miller just proposed a merit-only system – no lottery.
    • Clarifying, there would be a lottery only in the event of a tie score.
    • Travis Story asked the question ‘How do we minimize the odds of being sued?”
    • Mary Robin Casteel, the ABC attorney, recommended a lottery to minimize the prospects of lawsuits.
    • Dr. Stephen Carroll is still advocating for some sort of lottery for the top applicants.
    • Dr. Roman says he’s looking forward to public comment on the issue.
    • A state official is advocating that the applicants be blind to the commissioners when reviewing and scoring the application.
      • He’s advocating a 1-5 scale as opposed to a 1-10 scale to eliminate some subjectivity.
    • Mary Robin Casteel, ABC attorney, says the whole MM program could be delayed if the applications are only graded on merit.
      • She recommends looking at how the Arkansas state procurement agency handles vendor selection.
    • Travis Story is suggesting possibly increasing the bar to entering the lottery from 90th to 95th percentile.
    • James Miller continues to argue for a merit-only selection system for cultivation facilities.
    • The commissioners agree that they would like to hear about the typical Arkansas State procurement process – at the next meeting.
    • Dr. Roman is advocating for a substance abuse plan to be included as a merit criterion.
    • Seems to be agreement among the commissioners that there will be a bonus points section in the application – like in the Connecticut application.
  • Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, chairwoman, just arrived at the meeting – she performs surgeries on Thursday afternoons at UAMS.
  • Back to the cultivation facility merit application – new sections:
    • Schedule 7 – Substance abuse and prevention plan
      • Mention made of donation of a portion of profits to an organization in this field to receive bonus points.
    • Schedule 8 – Medical marijuana research plan
  • Now, to the cultivation facility rules document:
    • Section 9.c. – newly proposed – bonus point section – ‘commission may consider’ – community benefit section – would include:
      • substance abuse plan
      • Arkansas ownership %
      • compassionate need plan
      • research plan
  • Transportation rules discussion – Travis Story is advocating for more information to be provided in the application.
    • ABC is handling the creation of the transportation rules, and there is a pending bill in committee about medical marijuana transportation.
    • Bud Roberts, head of the ABC, says the ABC board is currently working on the MM rules and regulations, and they’ll provide to the medical marijuana commission as soon as they’re available.
Commissioners Dr. Stephen J. Carroll, PharmD. and Travis W. Story, Esq.


ABC Attorney Mary Robin Casteel, Commissioners Dr. J. Carlos Roman M.D. and James Miller

Next meeting is February 1st, 2017 at 4:00 pm.