Updates from the October 16th Medical Marijuana Commission Meeting

All commissioners were present in-person at this meeting of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, and the meeting room was filled to capacity as many members of the audience were standing and even seated on the floor.

The discussion started with the application numbers from Joel DiPippa:

  • 95 cultivation applications received (not broken down by zone)
  • Dispensary applications: 227

Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility and Dispensary Applications by Zone

Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility and Dispensary Applications by County

Click here to download the full report from the Medical Marijuana Commission .

November the 1st was the deadline to receive FBI background checks, but the amount of time is insufficient according to Mary Robin Casteel. The commissioners agreed and extended the deadline to December 1st, 2017.

The timeline for reviewing and redacting the applications will be quite long, according to Joel DiPippa. Schedule E has to have names removed. There is a different set of redactions, those that will be shown to the public and those that will be shown to the commissioners. There will be more redactions in the documents provided to the commissioners.

The applications will be provided to the commissioners for scoring in nine packets, one for cultivation and eight for the dispensary zones. The goal is to remove the references to individuals from the applications. Ten employees at the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA)  are working on these applications. Because of the number of applications, the DFA doesn’t intend to be complete with their redactions until December 15th. The DFA will start on the largest batch of applications first.

Application appendix page count has ranged from several dozen to over two thousand.

Every application has been checked to see if it meets minimum criteria. Mary Robin said that the ABC found some inconsistencies between the rules and regulations and the actual applications. The first issue is in regards to the method for an applicant to prove a date of birth, whether two forms of identification were required or just one. The commissioners decided that two forms were necessary, a valid driver’s license plus one of the other listed documents.

Second issue, the rules and regulations require two forms of proof to prove residency as does the cultivation application. The dispensary application, however, only required one form of proof.

Third issue, in regards to using the AR1000 Arkansas state tax returns to prove residency, the question posed by Joel DiPippa was if tax returns starting from 2015 and going seven years back was acceptable because some applicants did not have 2016 state tax returns available (because of the extension period) at the time of the application deadline.

The next issue was what methods of proof of assets will be accepted for a valid application. According to Mary Robin Casteel, applicants used a wide range of methods to prove assets because there wasn’t a specified form or format provided to applicants. The commissioners agreed that a looser standard to prove assets would be acceptable.

The discussion turned to the method by which denied applicants would be notified and the timeframe for those notifications. The commissioners decided to announce denied applicants and successful licensees at the same time.

Joel DiPippa brought up the idea that applicants who were denied for not meeting minimum criteria might receive their entire application fee back. DiPippa didn’t see a major harm to the budget of the DFA if applicants who were disqualified for not meeting minimum criteria were given their entire application fee back. The commissioners agreed that applicants who didn’t meet the minimum criteria will receive their full application fee as a refund.

Joel DiPippa stated that the timetable for issuing licenses has likely slipped to well past January of 2018. Mary Robin mentioned the hypothetical that licenses may not be awarded until April of 2018. Because of this likely timeframe, the commissioners agreed that the initial licenses awarded will be valid until June of 2019, eliminating the possibility of a very short initial license period.

Joel DiPippa with the DFA told the commissioners that the DFA and ABC should be notified if the commissioners are contacted by applicants during this application review period. He also suggested that the commissioners should not discuss the process with the media or with applicants until the application process is complete.

The commissioners will receive the applications for review in a digital document format since they are easier to redact.

Motions Passed:

  • The minutes from the previous meeting were accepted
  • The deadline for receiving FBI background checks was extended to December 1st, 2017
  • The deadline for the MMC receiving the applications for grading from the DFA is December 15th, 2017
  • For proving date of birth on an application, two forms of identification are required
  • For proving residency requirements, the commission will accept AR1000 tax returns from 2009-2015 as a form of proof of residency as well as 2010-2015 with a 2016 notice of extension
  • For proving residency for dispensary applications, only one form of proof is required, per the rules and regulations
  • Any form of proof of assets will be acceptable, no specified format
  • All formally denied applicants as well as successful applicants will be notified at the same time
  • Applicants who did not meet minimum criteria or who have withdrawn their application will be fully refunded their application fee
  • Initial licenses will be valid through June of 2019
  • The communication blackout period starts today

Click here to download the agenda.

Joel DiPippa mentioned that the rules and regulations for medical cannabis distributors, processors, and transporters will be discussed at the next MMC meeting. Formal rule making for these licenses will not be completed

The next meeting will be December the 1st at 3:30 pm.

Talk Business & Politics: Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association hires media specialist

Erin Holland has been hired as the media specialist and membership consultant for the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association. She is the first paid employee of the association that was formed in February 2017.

Holland owns Little Rock-based Amplify, a newly-formed digital media and marketing company.

Her job with the ACIA includes creating and implementing a marketing plan and to develop a membership program for patients, doctors and business owners and managers in the medical marijuana industry.

“This​ is ​an​ important​ moment​ for​ our ​association,​ one​ I​ think​ every ​non-profit​ strives​ to get​ to,” Storm​ Nolan,​ ACIA ​president, said in a statement. “We ​knew​ Erin​ had​ the knowledge ​and​ experience​ we needed​ for​ this​ role,​ but​ what​ we​ didn’t​ anticipate​ was her​ passion ​for​ our​ cause.​ You ​can’t​ have the​ brains​ without ​the​ heart,​ it​ doesn’t​ work like ​that.”​

Erin Holland

Read the full article at Talk Business & Politics.

Hydrocarbon Extraction Seminar – with Summit Extraction Systems and HAL Extraction Technology

Are you thinking about applying for a medical marijuana dispensary or cultivation facility license in Arkansas?

Corey Chavez with Summit Extraction Systems and Linn Havelick with HAL Extraction Technology will educate dispensary and cultivation applicants and patients about hydrocarbon (butane or propane) extraction technology.

With extract-derived products accounting for as much as 50% of retail sales in the cannabis marketplace, a professional extraction industry has been born — and business is booming. More and more growers are jumping on the extract bandwagon, out of necessity and increased profitability.

Corey and Linn’s presentations will be will be followed by a Q&A session.

Please join us Tuesday, August 29th from 6pm to 7pm.

RSVP at the Facebook event page or by emailing Info@ARcannabis.org.

Medical Cannabis CO2 Extraction Seminar

Tuesday, August 29th
6:00pm to 7:00pm
Comfort Inn & Suites Presidential
707 Interstate 30, Little Rock, AR 72202

No charge – our goal is to educate prospective applicants in the Arkansas medical marijuana industry.


Click to download.

About Corey Chavez and Summit Extraction Systems

In 2009 Chavez founded Sensible Durango, a reform organization in Colorado that advocated changes in marijuana laws through media and public engagement. As CEO and co-founder of Summit Extraction Systems, he is involved in developing new extraction technologies, quality standards and best practices for hydrocarbon cannabis extraction. Chavez also serves on the Board of Advisors for Terpenes and Testing Magazine.

Summit Extraction Systems is a leading cannabis extraction equipment manufacturer based in Colorado, USA. Founded in 2015, Summit designs innovative closed loop extraction equipment that use hydrocarbons to safely and efficiently extract botanical oils. Summit’s line of equipment allows processors to extract valuable plant compounds such as THC, CBD, and terpenes for use in a variety of infused products.

Corey Chavez, CEO & Co-Founder, Summit Extraction Systems

About Linn Havelick and HAL Extraction Technology

Linn Havelick has an extensive background in process chemistry, hazardous materials management, occupational health and safety, and is a successful entrepreneur in the plant oil extraction industry. Linn applied this background to the marijuana industry starting in early 2014, when he worked to help upgrade the extraction industry to modern chemical process standards. When he saw a need in the industry for explosion-proof rated facilities, he developed the HAL Extraction Booth System and introduced it to market. Linn is a Certified Industrial Hygienist, and a named Fellow in the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Founded by Linn Havelick in 2016, HAL Extraction Technology Ltd. works to keep people from blowing themselves up while doing plant oil extraction with flammable solvents. HAL Extraction applied the latest engineering and safety standards to develop the HAL Extraction Booth. The HAL Booth provides a low-cost, high technology solution to extraction business owners, engineers, architects, and meets the requirements of fire marshals, code officials, and regulators. Designing and building a complex and compliant extraction facility from scratch can take many months; the HAL Booth was built to meet applicable building and fire codes and OSHA regulations to change months to weeks in getting extraction businesses up and running. See www.ExtractionBooth.com.

Linn Havelick, Founder & CEO, HAL Extraction Technology

Arkansas Cannabis Mixer (Post-Application)

Join us to celebrate the passing of the medical cannabis dispensary and cultivation facility application deadline on September 18th.

Thursday, September 21st
6-8 pm

Live music, heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and post-application mingling. All are welcome.

Let other know you’re coming on the Facebook event page.

Click here to RSVP.

Comfort Inn & Suites Presidential, 707 Interstate 30, Little Rock, AR 72202