Arkansas Plant Board Adopts Industrial Hemp Regulations

ARKANSAS: The Arkansas Plant Board approved regulations for the state’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program today at their quarterly meeting. The approval came after Mary Smith, author of the regulations and ASPB Seed Division Director, presented several public comments collected during a thirty-day public comment period that concluded June 15th.

TreeOfLifeSeeds_ArkansasPlantBoard_Pic2 (1)Many of the comments were inconsequential and did not result in recommended changes to the current draft of regulations. One comment however resulted in a change, where licenses will be suspended instead of revoked as a result of violations, pending a hearing. The regulations that were approved by Governor Asa Hutchinson in May are now headed to the Arkansas Legislative Council (ALC) for approval. The ALC’s next meeting is scheduled for August 17, 2018 at 9am. Once approved by the ALC, the adopted rules and regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State’s office and will become effective ten days after filing.

When the hemp regulations become effective, the ASPB will establish the protocol to grant licenses to Arkansas farmers and processors. Although it’s likely that licenses will not be granted in time for the 2018 growing season, local farmers and companies welcome the opportunity for next planting season. Industrial Hemp is a versatile crop that can be used to produce a variety of products such as CBD extracts, paper, building materials, food products, and biofuel.

According to local Hemp Genetics and CBD company, Tree of Life Seeds’ CEO, Jason Martin, “the ability to grow and process industrial hemp in the natural state is a game changer for Arkansas farmers who will now have a viable alternative crop that can provide increased profits at a time when farming profits are low.”

Arkansas Plant Board Holds Historic First Hemp Meeting

ARKANSAS: The Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) embarked upon two historic firsts for the state on Tuesday. After eighty years of prohibition, the ASPB held the first meeting of the Industrial Hemp Committee where the committee voted on and passed a draft of proposed regulations. These historic firsts mark the beginning of the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program that will bring production, development and commercialization of Industrial Hemp to the Natural State.

Approximately 40 farmers, breeders and ancillary business representatives filled the audience as Mary Smith, author of the regulations and ASPB Seed Division Director, read through the proposed regulations. Appointed members of the Industrial Hemp Committee reviewed and approved a few motions to change small details in the regulations before voting to approve the draft. The Committee members are Chairman Jerry Hyde, Bruce Alford, Russell Bragg, Robert Campbell, Matthew Marsh, and Barry Walls.

The ASPB and Mary Smith were praised for their exemplary efforts in developing the historic regulations. During the process of drafting, the ASPB looked to other states’ programs for best practices, met with local businesses and took public comments. Tree of Life Seeds CEO and Director of Hemp Advancement at the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, Jason Martin, commended the board’s efforts stating, “The Arkansas State Plant Board and the Industrial Hemp Committee have been a pleasure to work with. Their comprehensive work and due diligence are building a Hemp program that will serve as a model for other states that will soon implement similar programs.”






Gov. Hutchinson Announces New Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission

ARKANSAS:  Governor Asa Hutchinson today, joined with Senator Jonathan Dismang, President Pro Tempore, and Representative Jeremy Gillam, Speaker of the House, announced five appointments to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission. They are as follows:

Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D., Little Rock, to the Medical Marijuana Commission. (Hutchinson Appointment)

Dr. Stephen J. Carroll, PharmD, Benton, to the Medical Marijuana Commission. (Gillam Appointment)

Travis W. Story, Esq., Fayetteville, to the Medical Marijuana Commission. (Gillam Appointment)

James Miller, Bryant, to the Medical Marijuana Commission. (Dismang Appointment)

Dr. J. Carlos Roman M.D., Little Rock, to the Medical Marijuana Commission. (Dismang Appointment)

The commission’s creation follows the passage of the Medical Marijuana Amendment in the 2016 General Election. The purpose of the Medical Marijuana Commission is to control the regulation of medical marijuana cultivation and distribution to qualifying patients in the State of Arkansas. The commission will also work to establish a system of administering and regulating the licensing of dispensaries, along with setting conditions and requirements for physicians, dispensaries and patients.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement: 

“Following the decision of Arkansas voters to legalize medical marijuana, I have worked with Pro Tempore Dismang and Speaker Gillam to appoint the members of the Medical Marijuana Commission within the 30-day period. I look forward to seeing this commission develop a responsible implementation plan that meets the needs of patients while protecting the public and assuring public safety.

“I have no doubt Dr. Tillman, with her knowledge and breadth of experience in the field of medicine, will do an excellent job in her new role on this commission.” 

Senate President Dismang issued the following statement: 

“James is uniquely qualified to tackle the issues that will come before the Medical Marijuana Commission. During his tenure with state government, he worked closely with regulatory agencies for both tobacco and alcohol. That experience will help him navigate the safety and rule-making obligations the Commission is tasked with by this new amendment.”

“Dr. Roman’s statewide leadership in pain management will be a valuable contribution to this Commission. He has worked to protect both doctors and patients while encouraging crackdowns on so-called ‘pill mills,’ where some doctors will unethically and illegally enable prescription drug abuse and opiate dependency. Other states with medical marijuana have seen similar problems with prescriptions, and Dr. Roman’s decades of work will be a great resource as we look to mitigate that possibility, along with addressing a myriad of other medical issues.”

Speaker Gillam issued the following statement: 

“Both Dr. Carroll and Mr. Story share my desire for the commission to honor the will of the voters and find a responsible path forward. Both have distinguished careers in their profession and will serve Arkansas well.”


The Expectations Of The Legal Cannabis Market After Elections

MAINE: In California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine, voters decided that recreational cannabis use is now legal. Now as for Arizona, it was the only state that rejected the proposal. Making it four of the five states, where the proposal of legalization of cannabis for recreational use were approved. Companies in this sector profiting from the growing demand, views this as a highly positive development for the legal cannabis industry, as it may bring billions of dollars to the industry and to the states themselves.

District of Columbia, along with other 8 states now recognizes recreational marijuana use as a legal practice for adults. Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota assed ballot measures legalizing medical marijuana use only.  California is of course the most populated state and the largest market for cannabis. California Lt. Gov. and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, said the proposition could generate up to $1 billion a year in tax revenue, as well as $100 million in saved taxpayer money on an annual basis.

Arkansas Attorney General Rejects Wording Of Marijuana Ballot Item

ARKANSAS: The Arkansas attorney general’s office has rejected the wording of a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana in the state.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel‘s office on Friday said the measure by Arkansans for Medical Cannabis contains ambiguities in its text.

McDaniel’s office says the proposal doesn’t clearly define the term “legal residents” and is unclear what regulatory authority, if any, the Legislature would have over the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, sale and use of marijuana.