By William “Stash” Jones
Oregon Cannabis Connection
January 3, 2016 – The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission decided on a annual $100,000 license fee for medical marijuana producers Tuesday evening. That fee is in addition to a $15,000 application fee just to apply for a license. They will also have to show they have at least $1 million in financial assets or a surety bond and have $500,000 in cash available.
In their decision tonight, they made it impossible for anything but a huge corporate organization to be able to enter the market, but that was partly their intent. They did not want a company failing in the first few years due to lack of resources, they explained in the meeting.
They also changed a earlier decision to spread the 5 licenses they award across the state evenly between their existing five public health regions. Instead, they will give all applicants equal opportunity without regional barriers or requirements. Applicants can show the benefits of locating a cultivation site in a specific region, that benefit will carry weight in their final decision.
One Commissioner, Dr. Carlos Roman, actually argued for a much lower license fee of $15,000, explaining that the exorbitant fee will shut some Arkansans out of the business.
Commissioner Travis Story wanted an even a higher license fee of $185,000 and made the argument that cultivation businesses need a lot of capitol to ensure it doesn’t fail.
Arkansas passed a medical marijuana initiative on November 8th, The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, or Issue 6. The law allows for people suffering from specific conditions to get a doctor recommendation for the plant. The 17 qualifying conditions include cancer, Tourette’s syndrome, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder and HIV/AIDS.
A completely different medical marijuana proposal, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, or Issue 7, was also originally to be on the ballot in 2016, but was disqualified after absentee ballots had been mailed due to invalid signatures. Issue 7 allowed for home grows and covered over 50 medical conditions.
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