FAQs About the Risks of Becoming A Medical Cannabis Patient in Arkansas

Examining Amended Section 3 of Amendment 98:

Frequently Asked Questions About the Risks of Becoming A Qualified Patient under Arkansas’ Medical Marijuana Act of 2016

About the author:

Robbin Rahman, J.D., is a member of the board of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association and is an attorney with Barber Law Firm, PLLC, a general practice law firm based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Robbin has over 17 years of experience as a corporate lawyer helping businesses solve critical financial, operational and legal problems. Robbin has been engaged in a broad range of business-related matters, including commercial transactions, general corporate law, corporate bankruptcy matters, secured transactions, foreclosures and business litigation. Over the course of his career, Robbin has been involved in some of the largest, most complex restructuring cases in the country, including the bankruptcy case of one of the “big three” automotive manufacturers, a multi-billion dollar Houston-based oil and gas company, a well-known airline and one of America’s oldest steel manufacturers. In addition, Robbin has acted as counsel to a wide-variety of clients, including local, privately-held businesses as well as large, national corporations, investment banks, trustees and other business organizations. Robbin has regularly appeared on behalf of his clients in federal and state courts in numerous jurisdictions across the country, including New York, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Texas and California and has significant appellate court experience, including multiple appeals to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Over the course of the next three to six months, Arkansas’ newest industry, the cultivation, processing and dispensing of medical cannabis, will open its doors and begin the process of integrating itself into the Arkansas business community as well as the everyday lives of Arkansas citizens.  For those Arkansans who eagerly have been awaiting the arrival of this new industry and intend to purchase medical cannabis as soon as dispensaries have opened their doors for business, this process cannot happen fast enough.  As of the date of this article, nearly 2,300 “Registry Identification Cards” have been issued by the Arkansas Department of Health, which, upon issuance, designate the holder as a “Qualified Patient” under applicable law, entitling the holder to legally purchase medical cannabis with all of the protections afforded by Arkansas’ medical cannabis laws.   Notwithstanding the exuberance of some, others likely will take a more cautious approach.  And with good reason:  cannabis remains illegal under Federal law and will be subject to an unknown reception from, among others, local employers, businesses and communities.  Because of this uncertainty, the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association (ACIA) routinely receives questions from potential card-holders regarding, among other things, whether becoming a “Qualified Patient” and purchasing medical cannabis will come at the expense of their employment, their business contacts and other important relationships.  Several of the most commons questions are set forth below, along with an analysis of the answer.

Question #1

What is a Registry Identification Card?

Short Answer:  A Registry Identification Card is required if you want to legally purchase medical cannabis in Arkansas.  It is issued by the Arkansas State Board of Health and, in general, requires that you get a doctor’s written certification regarding your qualifying condition and also requires that you pay a fee of $50.00.

Long Answer:  If you suffer from one or more of the qualifying conditions set forth in Amendment 98, you may be eligible to purchase medical cannabis in Arkansas to treat your condition.  However, before you will be legally permitted to do so, you must first obtain a Registry Identification Card from the Arkansas Department of Health (the “ADH”).  Section IV of the Rules and Regulations Governing Medical Marijuana Registration, Testing and Labeling in Arkansas (the “ADH Rules”) sets forth the requirements for obtaining a Registry Identification Card.  The requirements including, among other things: (a) a written certification from a medical doctor licensed in Arkansas, certifying that you suffer from one or more of the qualifying medical conditions; and (b) payment of a fee of $50.00.  In addition, if  you are from out of state, you may be eligible to purchase medical cannabis if you can provide proof that you have a valid registry identification card (or its equivalent) issued by another state.

It is important to understand that a Registry Identification Card is a fundamental necessity if you wish to purchase medical cannabis in Arkansas.  If you fail to obtain a Registry Identification Card or if you allow it to expire or lapse, you will not be permitted to purchase medical cannabis at any licensed cannabis dispensary and any protections that are granted under Amendment 98, such as immunity from prosecution for possession or use of medical cannabis, will not apply and you may be subject to, among other things, otherwise applicable civil and criminal penalties.

Question #2

Will my name or any of the sensitive information I provide to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) be disclosed if I get a Registry Identification Card?

Short Answer:  No.  The ADH will keep your sensitive information confidential.  However, once the information leaves the hands of the ADH, any protections built into the law may be compromised.

Long Answer: To obtain a Registry Identification Card, an applicant must fill out an application and submit it to the ADH along with the required fee.  The application process takes approximately 14 days and will be granted or denied based upon, among other things, whether complete information has been provided by the applicant and whether any of the information was misrepresented, forged or otherwise fraudulent.  The Registry Identification Card application requires that the applicant provide the ADH with several types of personally identifiable information, such as name, address, date of birth and a copy of the applicant’s Arkansas-issued driver’s license.  In addition, in the case of a “Qualified Caregiver”, the Health Department also will conduct a criminal background check to determine whether the applicant’s criminal history is suitable to become a qualified caregiver.

Upon the granting of a Registry Identification Card, the holder’s name will be added to a list that will be maintained by the ADH.  This list, however, will be treated as confidential information that is not subject to disclosure under, among other things, Arkansas’ Freedom of Information Act.  In addition, all other information provided by a qualified patient in the application process to the ADH will be treated as confidential.  Finally, the ADH Rules also make clear that the ADH will cooperate with law enforcement in validating a Registry Identification Card, but only to the extent necessary to authenticate the Registry Identification Card.  These rules help to ensure that any information provided by the qualified patient to the ADH remains confidential and, while the ABH will maintain a list of the names of all Registry Identification Card holders, the list will not be subject to disclosure.  Keep in mind, however, that the ABH will cooperate and provide certain limited information to other governmental agencies, including law enforcement, the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission.  As a result, once the information leaves the hands of the ADH, any protections guaranteed by the ADH Rules will likely be inapplicable or, at best, compromised.

Question #3

Am I risking my job simply by getting a Registry Identification Card?

Short Answer:  No, the law specifically protects an employee (or job applicant) against any discrimination or other penalties solely as a result of such person’s status as a Registry Identification Card holder.  Until more is known, it probably is safest to keep your status as a card holder to yourself.

Long Answer:  First, the list of Qualified Patients in possession of a Registry Identification Cards will be kept confidential by the ADH.  Accordingly, absent a voluntary disclosure by the employee/applicant, it is unlikely that anyone, including any employer, will know who is a Qualified Patient and who is not.  In addition, in early 2017, the Arkansas Legislature amended Amendment 98 (the Constitutional Amendment legalizing medical cannabis in Arkansas), including a substantial revision of the original employee/employer protections of Amendment 98.  In general, under the newly amended law, an employer can be sued for unlawful discrimination if it can be shown that the employer failed to hire, terminated, discriminated against or otherwise penalized an employee or applicant solely on the basis that such employee or applicant is or was the holder of a Registry Identification Card.  The damages available to an employee or applicant are identical to those available to an aggrieved employee under the Arkansas’ Civil Rights Act of 1993.  So, as a general statement, simply obtaining a Registry Identification Card will be a largely anonymous act that is protected by Amendment 98 and any employer who violates its protections is subject to a lawsuit.

Notwithstanding these protections, it is important to understand that Amendment 98’s protections are not absolute.  For example, as the language of the Amendment makes clear, the protections only apply to discrimination or penalties that are solely based on the employee/applicant’s status as a card holder.  If the employer can demonstrate that the actions it took vis-à-vis the employee/applicant were non-discriminatory or based upon more than mere card-holder status, the employee protections may not apply and the employer may be able to overcome any claims that it acted improperly.  Moreover, if the employer has fewer than 9 employees in the State of Arkansas, the employee protections will not apply.

Question #4

Can I be fired from my job for lawfully using medical cannabis?

Short Answer:  Maybe, but the answer depends largely on your employer’s policies.  For example, if your employer has adopted a drug-free workplace policy or other drug testing policy, your legal medical cannabis use can be the basis of various actions by your employer, including your termination.  Even in the absence of such a policy, your employer has no obligation to allow you to use medical cannabis while on the job, or to allow you to be “under the influence” at work.  If your employer has virtually any evidence of on the job use, they can take a variety of actions, including terminating you.  Although a failed drug test is not enough by itself, a failed drug test plus virtually any additional evidence (even if the evidence is circumstantial, unreliable or turns out to be untrue) can give the employer all the ammunition it needs to take action.  Of course, just because your employer can do these things does not mean they will.  The best advice is to first take time to fully read and understand your employer’s policies and procedures and make sure you understand your employer’s position on this issue.  Ultimately, it will be up to the employer to think through these issues and determine how aggressively they will police their employees.

Long Answer:  This is a complicated topic, full of hazard for the employee, so the details are important.  First, as set forth above, Amendment 98, as amended in 2017, generally protects employees or applicants from discrimination or other penalties solely as a result of the employee/applicant’s status as a Qualified Patient (i.e., a holder of a Registry Identification Card).  However, largely as a result of the 2017 amendments, a substantial amount of leverage has been granted to the employer regarding the actions they may take with respect to employees/applicants who are Qualified Patients and also lawfully use or consume medical cannabis.  For example, an employer is permitted to implement a substance abuse or drug-free workplace policy that includes drug testing and the employer is further permitted to take action against any employee/applicant who fails a drug test implemented under the drug-free workplace policy.  In other words, if an employer has a formal drug-free workplace policy and an employee/applicant tests positive for the use of medical cannabis (whether the use was legal or otherwise), the employer would be within its rights to terminate the employee (or reject the applicant’s job application).

Moreover, an Arkansas employer is not required to accommodate “on-the-job” use of medical cannabis in any manner (as is the case in every state in which medical cannabis is legal at the state level).  An employer is permitted to take action against any employee the employer believes is using, or otherwise “under the influence” of, medical cannabis while at the workplace, based upon a “good faith belief.”  Good faith belief is defined in an expansive manner, permitting the employer to rely on virtually any evidence it reasonably believes to be reliable, including “written, electronic, or verbal statements from the employee or other persons” as well as “information from reputable reference sources in print or on the internet.”  As this language reveals, the law allows the employer to rely on information that is inherently unreliable.  In fact, the employer’s belief need not actually be correct, so long as the evidence relied upon by the employer in forming its good faith belief is not so obviously unreliable or without basis that accepting it as truth would constitute “gross negligence.”  Accordingly, a fellow employee’s (or even non-employee’s) statements on social media, an overheard office rumor or an errant email communication between third parties each have the potential to provide sufficient evidence for an employer to lawfully terminate an employee.  The only good news here is that a failed drug test by itself likely cannot serve as the sole basis for the employer’s good faith belief – there must be other evidence.

The circumstances under which an employee may be considered to be “under the influence” also are defined in the Amendment in a way to give employer’s significant latitude.  Examples of potentially sufficient circumstances include the employees “appearance” or “clothing”, as well as mere “involvement” in an accident that results in “disruption of a production or manufacturing process.”  The Amendment does not seem to hinge on the manner in which the employee was “involved” in an accident (i.e., must the employee be at fault?  Or is it enough that the employee was present when an accident occurred through no fault of the employee?).  Moreover, the Amendment does not attempt to specify the types of process interruption or resulting damage that is suggestive of being under the influence (i.e., must the process involve complex equipment, expensive raw materials and significant skill?  Must the interruption result in damage? Or, does it include something as trivial as incorrectly photocopying a single document or a spilled cup of coffee?).

Finally, consistent with other state and federal rules and regulations that identify certain “safety-sensitive” positions that must be performed free of any form of impairment, Amendment 98 also permits an employer to exclude an employee or applicant from any position identified as “safety sensitive.”  The Amendment defines safety sensitive broadly to incorporate essentially any position identified by any federal or state agency as safety-sensitive, as well as any position designated in writing by an employer as safety sensitive, including, for example, any position that requires carrying a firearm, performing life-threatening procedures; working with confidential information, working with food or medicine or operating, maintaining, repairing or monitoring heavy equipment or machinery.  Accordingly, it seems likely that, to the extent an employer wants to identify virtually any position as safety-sensitive, the Amendment grants sufficient authority to do so.  The keys to excluding an employee from a safety sensitive position are:  (1) the safety sensitive designation is in writing and (2) the employer has a “good faith belief” of current use of medical cannabis.  While the writing portion of this requirement is easy enough, it is unclear what is required to satisfy the employer’s “good faith belief of current use of marijuana.”  As described above, the good faith belief standard is anything other than gross negligence (including actual negligence), so it is possible that nearly anything will be sufficient to satisfy this requirement.

Question #5

What steps, if any, can I take to protect myself?

Short Answer:  Most importantly, educate yourself about what the law permits and your employer’s policies and procedures.  Make sure you fully understand your employer’s position on this issue and what steps they’ll take if they determine that you are in violation of their written policy.  Always remember, your employer needs very little evidence to take action and they are permitted to take action, in some circumstances, even if it turns out they were wrong.  As a result, always exercise extreme care and a healthy dose of common sense.  Be careful with whom you share your plans and, if an issue arises, make sure you document everything.

Long Answer:  As the answers to the above-questions make clear, Amendment 98, as amended in 2017, provides employers with significant discretion to take actions against an employee the employer believes to be engaged in the use of medical cannabis.  While employees and applicants are granted limited protections against discrimination solely on the basis of their status as a Registry Card Holder, if the employee actually uses or consumes medical cannabis, the protections become significantly weaker.  Furthermore, even when an employee does not use cannabis in the workplace, an employer may still discipline an employee for being “under the influence.” As a result, an employee is well-advised to proceed with caution.  Of course, just because an employer has significant latitude in how it treats its employees who chose to participate in Arkansas’ medical cannabis industry, it is not a certainty that employers will take a hard-line approach or otherwise actively seek out Registry Card Holders for the purpose of removing them from their company.  At this point, it is just as likely that most employers will wholly ignore the medical cannabis industry unless and until problems arise.  However, in light of the unfavorable legal landscape and the significant uncertainty as the industry develops, every employee of an Arkansas employer should take steps to educate themselves about the relevant laws to ensure that they can get access to medical cannabis with as little risk to their employment as possible.

Set forth below is a non-exhaustive list of issues that every employee should consider before they obtain a Registry Identification Card and become a Qualified Patient:

  • Are you fully versed on your employer’s policies?  If not, educate yourself immediately.  In particular, has your employer adopted a written policy or guideline regarding medical cannabis?
  • Has your employer adopted a written substance abuse or drug-free workplace policy that includes a drug testing program?
  • If they have, are you subject to drug testing?  If not, do you know whether they intend to?
  • Even if your employer does not have a drug-free workplace policy or a substance abuse program, it is important to understand that if you use or otherwise consume medical cannabis at work or are otherwise under the influence during working hours, you can be terminated, reassigned, penalized or otherwise reprimanded pursuant to Amendment 98.  It is critical that you understand the circumstances under which you can be impacted.
  • To what extent do you intend to be public about your participation in Arkansas’ medical cannabis industry?
  • Do you plan to tell other people about your interest?  Do you intend to post about it on social media?  Or, do you plan to keep it a secret, or only share with a few close friends?
  • If your plans include freely sharing with your friends and coworkers, understand that making it known that you are, for example, a Registry Card Holder, can have consequences depending on your employer.  Until more is known, discretion likely is the better approach.

HuffPost: Study: 2 out of 3 Pain Patients Quit Opioids with Marijuana

Read the full article at the Huffington Post.

In a new study conducted by Aclara Research, medical use of cannabis has once again been shown to be a successful substitute for dangerous addictive opioid painkillers for many patients in pain.

The study surveyed over 400 patients and 500 pharmacists to glean their views on the medical use of cannabis and its effect on the use of prescribed opioids.

Sixty-seven percent of the patients surveyed indicated that they were able to cease their use of opioid medications once they had access to a state medical marijuana program. Another 29 percent of the patients were able to reduce their use of opioids, leaving just 1 out of 25 patients (4 percent) whose opioid use was unaffected by marijuana use.

This comports with a study released last year in the journal Health Affairs that showed an average of 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers prescribed annually under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013 in the 17 states with a medical marijuana law. Another study in The Journal of Pain found “medical cannabis use was associated with a 64 percent decrease in opioid use” among 244 chronic pain patients in the Michigan medical marijuana program.

More incredibly, 30 percent of the patients surveyed by Aclara indicated they were able to cease use of all prescription drugs after they started using medical cannabis. For the patients who swapped the use of cannabis for prescription pill usage, over 60 percent reported making fewer trips to the pharmacist.

This echoes the findings of another study, published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, that found, “states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.”

It’s not the legalization of cannabis for medical use alone that brings about the reductions in opioid addiction and mortality, write the authors, “the mitigating effect of medical marijuana laws is specific to states that permit dispensaries.”

Of the pharmacists surveyed by Aclara, 87 percent agreed that medical use of cannabis should be legal, and 69 percent believe that pharmacists should dispense medical cannabis and counsel patients on its use.

Just 15 percent of the patients indicated that they spoke with their pharmacist about their cannabis use, compared to 40 percent of them who get their information about medical marijuana from the internet and social media.

Only five of the thirty states with medical cannabis programs – Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Arkansas – require pharmacist involvement in medical cannabis dispensaries.

Read the full article at the Huffington Post.

Arkansas attorney discusses medical marijuana in workplace

Read the full story at the Times Record.

A Little Rock attorney gave a presentation at the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce’s First Friday Breakfast on how the state’s medical marijuana laws affect businesses and how employers can be compliant.

J. Bruce Cross of Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C. said by phone that, as a labor lawyer, he saw medical marijuana in the workplace as something that needed to be addressed.

Act 593 of 2017, which Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed into law in March, clarifies some of the provisions of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act that was passed last year by creating definitions for employer, employee, under the influence and safety sensitive position, according to Cross’s presentation. “Under the influence” is defined as symptoms of current use of marijuana that may negatively impact the performance of the job duties or constitute a threat to health or safety. A safety sensitive position is any position involving a safety sensitive function pursuant to federal regulations adopted by the United States Department of Transportation or any other federal or state agency’s rules, guidelines or regulations. A position can also be considered safety sensitive if it is designated in writing by the employer as such because a person performing the position under the influence of marijuana may constitute a threat to health or safety, such as positions that require the employee to carry a firearm or work with hazardous or flammable materials.

UAMS Study Finds Day-Supply of Prescribed Opioids Most Decisive Factor in Likelihood of Long-Term Use

Read the full story at UAMS.

Aug. 16, 2017 | The single biggest factor determining whether a patient is likely to use opioids long term may be the number of days’ supply initially prescribed, according to a study by UAMS researchers.

“Compared to someone prescribed two days versus seven days, that person with a seven-day supply is twice as likely to be using opioids in the long term,” said Bradley Martin, Pharm.D., Ph.D. “The days supplied is far more important than the dosage level or even the type of pain being treated.”

The study was published online this month in The Journal of Pain by Martin and UAMS researchers Anuj Shah, a Ph.D. student, and Corey Hayes, Pharm.D., a postdoctoral fellow.

They looked at people previously prescribed opioids who had not used one in six months, the number of days on an opioid prescription they initially received, and whether they were still using opioids one year later.

Their most recent study is a follow-up to an earlier study by Martin, Shah and Hayes published in March in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that more broadly examined the effect of the day-supply of opioids on long-term use.

The study used 1.3 million patient records from 2006-2015 that were drawn from the IMS Lifelink+ database, which includes commercial health plan information and de-identified information on the enrollees.

In the follow-up study, Martin, Shah and Hayes examined the likelihood of long-term use of opioids among patients who received opioids for chronic pain, surgery, trauma and other pain conditions.

“In our previous study, we looked at anyone who was prescribed an opioid for any reason,” Martin said. “Now, people with chronic pain compared to people who just had surgery are about 25 percent more likely to continue using opioids. Clearly, people with chronic pain are more likely to be long-term opioid users. The type of pain does matter, but before doing the study we thought chronic pain versus surgical pain would be a stronger predictor of long-term use.”

Martin, the senior author of the study, is a professor in the Division of Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy in the UAMS College of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Practice. Shah, a co-author with Martin and Hayes, is a Ph.D. student in the division and a fellow at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, and Hayes is a postdoctoral fellow in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.

The vast majority of people with an initial episode of opioid use discontinue opioids, the study showed. On average, more than 80 percent of chronic pain patients discontinue in less than a year, and 90 percent with non-chronic pain discontinue in less than a year.

While there is no clear and specific point of transition to chronic use, the longer the duration an initial opioid prescription lasts the higher the chances opioid use will continue months or even years later, according to the study.

“Comparing someone who has a one- or two-day supply of opioids with someone who has a week’s supply the risk of use doubles,” Martin said. “This is something clinicians can easily modify when they prescribe opioids.”

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