Arkansas

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Cultivation Licensing Fee Set At $100,000

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has decided on a fee of $100,000 for those wanting to obtain a license to legally grow medical cannabis. This is in addition to the $15,000 fee just to apply for the license.

Commissioner Dr. Carlos Roman argued for a much lower fee of $15,000, saying he didn't want to keep a large part of the population from being able to obtain a license because of the $100,000 fee.

On the other hand, Commissioner Travis Story pushed for an even higher fee to be set at $185,000. His argument was that he wanted to ensure that businesses wouldn’t quickly go under and shut down.

Arkansas passed a law legalizing medical marijuana in November. It allows patients with certain qualifying conditions to receive a recommendation for medical cannabis from a physician.

Medical cannabis dispensaries are expected to be open in the state sometime next year.

Texas: Bill Filed To Legalize Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Texas state Senator Jose Menendez filed a bill today that would allow people with chronic and debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana to treat those conditions through a prescription from a doctor.

Senator Menendez says if traditionally conservative states like Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas can pass such a measure, Texas should follow suit.

Illnesses like cancer, PTSD, nausea, Parkinson’s, autism, HIV and severe pain are a few of the ailments that would qualify.

Political science professor Doctor Paul Fabrizio told KIDY the road to approval for this bill is a difficult one. If passed in both the House and the Senate, there’s still one huge obstacle.

“If they were to get it passed, they’re gonna have to convince the governor. The governor has been very outspoken in saying he does not support legalization of medical or recreational marijuana. Therefore, he’s not going to sign a bill,” Fabrizio said.

U.S.: State Leaders Challenging Marijuana Election Results

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Political leaders in several states are acting to challenge election results regarding regulation of marijuana.

"Voters spoke clearly on election day. They believe that cannabis should be legal and that its sale ought to be regulated accordingly," said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. "Politicians should respect these outcomes, not undermine them."

Massachusetts voters decided 54 percent to 46 percent to legalize the use and cultivation of marijuana for adults 21 and over. Lawmakers are trying to move the date on which adults can begin growing marijuana from December 15, 2016 to an unspecified later time. They also want to delay retail sales of pot until late 2018.

Although Maine voters narrowly approved a similar ballot measure, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said that he will seek federal guidance before moving forward with the law's implementation. Gov. LePage said that he "will be talking to Donald Trump" about how the incoming administration intends to address the issue, and said that he "will not put this (law) into play" unless the federal government signs off on it.

Arkansas: Lawmakers Consider Launch Delay, Taxes For Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Arkansas lawmakers are considering a delay in the launch of the state's medical marijuana program as well as a plan to impose additional taxes on the drug. These are some of the ideas being considered as they move to implement the medical marijuana measure approved by voters earlier this month.

The ideas are among several being discussed for next year's session.

Republican Rep. Doug House is working on legislation giving agencies until early May rather than early March to adopt rules for medical marijuana. He said it would also change the deadline for the state to begin accepting dispensary applications from June 1 to July 1.

Republican Sen. Bart Hester says he's looking at legislation to impose an additional tax on medical marijuana, a move he says will help with income taxes.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Legal In First Bible Belt State

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Arkansas officially legalized marijuana for qualifying medical patients on Tuesday in a vote of 53.2% to 46.8%, according to the New York Times, making it the first Bible Belt state to legalize the plant.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, or Issue 6, is an amendment to Arkansas' state constitution that officially legalizes the distribution and possession of medical marijuana. The new amendment is specifically meant for patients who have any of 17 qualifying conditions, which include cancer, Tourette's syndrome, Chrohn's disease, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder and HIV/AIDS. Patients with a written statement from a doctor certifying they have a qualifying condition will be able to purchase medical marijuana from dispensaries, and will not be permitted to grow their own marijuana plants.

Arkansas voted on the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Question in 2012, but it was struck down in a vote of 51.4% to 48.5%. A separate medical marijuana proposal, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, or Issue 7, was also initially slated to be on the ballot in 2016, but was later disqualified due to invalid signatures.

U.S.: What Does Trump Presidency Mean For The Marijuana Industry?

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Whether or not you were a supporter for a Donald Trump presidency, everyone wonders what his presidency will mean for his or her beliefs. Marijuana users and supporters wonder how his presidency will affect the marijuana industry.

Election Day 2016 marked a big win for marijuana. Residents voted in nine different states on legalizing some form of marijuana. Five of those states were voting on whether or not to allow recreational use. Eight of those nine states passed their legalization measures, with only Arizona's recreational measure not passing.

California was the largest state to legalize it, making recreational use legal for adults. In addition to California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada legalized recreational marijuana use. Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota approved medical initiatives. Montana passed an additional measure to legalize commercial growing and distribution.

The Motley Fool declared marijuana a big winner on Election Day, but pointed out that how the marijuana industry could change under the Donald Trump presidency is open to a lot of interpretation. No-one knows what decisions Trump and Congress will make regarding the marijuana industry between now and January 2020.

California: Recreational Marijuana Now Legal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Recreational marijuana is now legal in California. Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts also legalized recreational marijuana, but the size and population of California puts its decision in a different league and it could lead the way to figuring out policy around the drug.

While the recreational marijuana initiative in Arizona failed, several other states voted on medical marijuana. North Dakota, Montana, Arkansas and Florida all approved medical marijuana.

60 percent of Americans support legalizing weed, up from 31 percent in 2000. California is the state with the largest economy and — now that it has legalized cannabis — the national weed industry has tripled in size.

California’s marijuana industry could be bigger than its famed wine businesses. The market for both recreational and medicinal marijuana is now projected to grow to $22 billion by 2020, up from $7 billion this year.

This may also put a lot more pressure on the federal government to lift its ban of the drug. The Drug Enforcement Administration has long classified cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, the most restrictive classification. This means it’s in the same category as heroin and LSD. Just this August, the DEA rejected an appeal to stop classifying cannabis as Schedule I drug.

Arkansas: Court Disqualifies Issue 7 Medical Marijuana Proposal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Arkansas Supreme Court has disqualified a medical marijuana proposal from the November ballot, but voters will still be able to consider a different plan.

The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, or Issue 7, was the disqualified proposal. Issue 6 remains on the ballot.

Issue 7 was invalidated because the court determined that supporters did not gather enough qualified signatures. The court disallowed more than 12,000 signatures, leaving 65,412 valid signatures. That was 2,465 short of the required number.

The court cited five reasons for five listed reasons:

1. Some of the petition gatherers did not comply with Arkansas laws on who can become a canvasser.
2. The signatures did not include an address, or included only a P.O. Box address.
3. The canvasser verified the petition before the voter signed it.
4. The canvasser checked an improper box.
5. Canvassers did not specifically witness the signatures.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care said Thursday it will fight the decision by the state Supreme Court to disqualify Issue 7. It was not clear how the group would fight the move since the decision took effect immediately.

Utah: Gubernatorial Candidate Unveils Medical Marijuana Plan

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

In the wake of his wife pleading guilty to a misdemeanor marijuana charge, Utah gubernatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz has rolled out a plan to legalize medical marijuana.

"There have been people suffering long enough, and we know this would help those people, so now is the time," Weinholtz said on Thursday.

His wife has said she uses marijuana to deal with chronic pain. Feds declined to prosecute her case and sent it to the Tooele County Attorney. On Tuesday, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor pot possession charge.

“It's bigger than just my wife and my family,” Weinholtz said. “There are thousands of Utahns that are struggling with these many different types of conditions.”

Weinholdts's plan includes: -Legalizing medical marijuana, with reasonable safeguards.

-Funding pain management programs, to cut down on opioid abuse.

-Expanding education and police department supply of Naloxone, used to save drug overdose patients.

"The increase in opioid addiction in the state has been dramatic, has been 400 percent since the year 2000, and medical cannabis would help with the reduction of opioids as well," Weinholtz said.

Montana: Initiative On Ballot To Improve Medical Marijuana Laws

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Most states have relaxed restrictions on marijuana in recent years. Some have legalized it for recreational use; half the states have legalized some form of medical marijuana. But Montana has gone backward.

Although Montana adopted medical marijuana in 2004, a law was passed in 2011 that severely limited the reach of marijuana providers. The Supreme Court affirmed the law in February.

Today, marijuana advertising is banned, marijuana dispensaries cannot have more than three registered users and doctors who prescribe marijuana to more than 25 patients annually will be reviewed by the state. Hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries closed when the restrictions took effect the end of August.

But supporters of medical marijuana are hoping to be back in business come November with Montana I-182, a ballot initiative that would repeal the law that effectively killed the medical marijuana industry. A "yes" vote would repeal the limit of three patients per dispensary, which estimates say cut off at least 12,000 medical marijuana users when it was put into effect — the vast majority of those were using marijuana as medication.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Measure Makes November Ballot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Arkansas Secretary of State's office confirmed last week that the state's medical marijuana measure, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, had submitted enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

The measure would allow for medical marijuana to be produced, tested, and distributed to patients diagnosed by a physician. One of over 50 qualifying conditions would allow patients to access a medical marijuana card. The measure would allow for 38 licensed nonprofit care centers. Patients that wish to grow their own pot must receive a 'hardship certificate' that states they do not live a reasonable distance from one of the care centers.

This will not be the first time Arkansans have voted for legalization.A similar measure was brought to the ballot in 2012, but lost, winning only 48 percent of the vote. Advocates say this time will be different, with polls in the area showing 84 percent support.

Arkansas adds its name to the list of eight (possibly nine) states voting on marijuana initiatives this fall. Florida and Missouri join Arkansas in voting for medical marijuana access. Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine, Arizona, and California are all voting on adult recreational use. Michigan’s measure remains in litigation after the state dubbed their signatures “stale.”

Arkansas: Group Submits 117K Signatures To Get Medical Marijuana On Ballot

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Supporters of medical marijuana in Arkansas turned in thousands of signatures Monday in an effort to put their proposal on the state's ballot this fall.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care submitted 117,469 signatures to the secretary of state's office while calling on backers of a competing ballot to end their campaign.

The secretary of state's office has 30 days to review the petitions and determine whether the group has the 67,887 valid signatures needed to get their act on the ballot. It would legalize marijuana for patients with a qualifying condition with a doctor's recommendation.

“The patients of Arkansas deserve a safer alternative,” Melissa Fults, the group’s campaign director, said at a news conference at the Capitol. “They should not have to choose between treating their illnesses or breaking the law.”

Arkansas voters narrowly missed approving a proposal to legalize medical marijuana four years ago. Fults said she believes the support for medical marijuana is still strong, but urged backers of a competing proposal to drop their campaign and join her group’s effort.

Putting both measures on the ballot “will absolutely cause both to fail,” Fults said.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Advocates Scramble To Collect Signatures To Legalize

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates in Arkansas are scrambling to meet a July 8 deadline to submit petitions for medical marijuana legalization. They worry that competing measures may divide support for the issue.

"It will be enough to split the vote and both will fail," said Melissa Fults, campaign director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

Fults says her group has gathered over 70,000 valid signatures from registered voters, well over the 67,887 required to get the act on the ballot. They plan to continue gathering signatures to ensure that any duplicate or invalid signatures are taken into consideration.

The Arkansans for Compassionate Care had their initiative approved by former Attorney General Dustin McDaniel in September of 2014, and the group has been gathering signatures and support ever since.

David Couch, the Little Rock lawyer behind a competing medical marijuana proposal, says he's not worried about the prospect of both measures being on the ballot. Couch said he's gathered support from more than 40,000 registered voters, nearly half of the 84,859 required to put his plan on the ballot. Because his proposal would be a constitutional amendment, it requires more signatures.

Arkansas: Group Seeking to Legalize Medical Marijuana Collects Signatures for November Ballot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A group of medical marijuana advocates in Arkansas wanting to legalize the drug has collected enough signatures to get their proposal on the ballot in November.

The Arkansans for Compassionate Care said volunteers have collected more than the required number of 68,000 signatures to put medical marijuana to a vote. Their proposal is called the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act.

They plan to collect thousands of more signatures to ensure that enough signatures are deemed valid.

Northwest Arkansas Regional Director Julie Yell said the goal is 75,000 to 85,000 just in case some signatures are not valid.

“I have a feeling that we're going to end up with more than that,” Yell said. “Now that interest has generated toward the end of the campaign."

Another initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas has just begun collecting signatures. Led by Little Rock attorney David Couch, it's called the Arkansas Amendment.

The Family Council Action Committee is an organization that is against both initiatives. Jerry Cox, executive director of the committee said, “This idea that you're just going to smoke medicine -- that's foolishness.”

Couch said in an email to KSFM-5NEWS the biggest difference between his amendment and the act led by the ACC is that the act allows people to grow their own medical marijuana.

“It’s just a backdoor way for people to smoke as much as they want, people that are otherwise healthy,” he said. “It has nothing, really to do with sick people,” Cox said of both initiatives.

Arkansas: Marijuana Legalization Proposal Rejected Due To Grammar Errors

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A legalization proposal in Arkansas has been scuttled by what state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge claims are "errors of grammar, punctuation and spelling" and "ambiguities in text." This is the second time the attorney general has rejected the proposal.

The Arkansas Cannabis Amendment, written by Mary Berry of Summit, Arkansas, would have allowed adults to cultivate, process, possess and use cannabis and anything made from the plant, reports Alexandra Sims at The Independent.

Atty. Gen. Rutledge found phrases in the proposal problematic, including "Any person eighteen (18) years of age and older," which she claimed should have been "or" instead of "and," reports Russia Today.

The phrase "all products derived from the cannabis plant," was declared "ambiguous" by Rutledge, who claimed the products could also include other ingredients and create a potential loophole in other laws.

"State laws as it pertains to marijuana" and "number of license" were also declared grammatically incorrect by Atty. Gen. Rutledge.

Berry has been instructed to resubmit the measure and ballot title.

Voters in Arkansas narrowly defeated a medical marijuana legalization proposal in 2012, with 48.56 percent approval.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Proposal Cleared To Gather Signatures

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The wording of a proposal to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas was approved on Thursday by state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, and supporters are now gathering signatures to qualify for next year's ballot.

The group will need 62,507 signatures from registered voters in order to appear on the November 2014 ballot, reports The Associated Press.

Atty. Gen. McDaniel certified the wording of the proposal from Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the same group behind an initiative that was narrowly rejected (49 percent yes, 51 percent no) by voters last year.

The proposal would allow authorized patients with qualifying conditions to buy cannabis from nonprofit dispensaries or to grow their own marijuana if they don't have reasonable access to transportation to a dispensary. Sales tax revenues from the dispensaries would first cover the costs of administering the program, and the remainder would be split evenly between the Newborn Umbilical Cord Initiative Fund and state drug education programs.

A separate proposal, from the group Arkansans for Responsible Marijuana, includes similar provisions and was certified by the Attorney General in August, but unlike the proposal certified on Thursday, the other measure would not allow patients to grow their own marijuana.

Arkansas: Attorney General Again Rejects Wording of Medical Marijuana Measure

(Photo: Danny Johnston/AP)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The wording of a proposed initiative to legalize medical marijuana has again been rejected by Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

McDaniel on Tuesday rejected the wording of the proposed measure by Arkansans for Compassionate Care, a pro-medical marijuana group which campaigned for a similar initiative which narrowly failed on the November 2012 ballot, reports The Associated Press.

The attorney general cited what he claimed were "several ambiguities" in the ballot measure.

McDaniel had already rejected the proposal for the first time last month. At that time, the attorney general said it contained "numerous ambiguities" and "numerous grammatical errors." He even suggested a "lack of focus" in the preparation of the proposal.

The proposal would legalize medicinal cannabis, allowing patients with qualifying conditions to buy it from nonprofit dispensaries with a doctor's authorization.

Unlike last year's ballot measure, this proposal unfortunately doesn't allow patients to grow their own medicine if they live more than five miles from a dispensary.

Arkansas: Medical marijuana group submits signatures

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CHUCK BARTELS, Associated Press

There is a truth that must be heard! LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Backers of an initiative that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in Arkansas submitted more than 74,000 additional signatures Monday to the secretary of state's office, though only about a quarter of them need to be valid to get the issue on the November ballot.

The group Arkansans for Compassionate Care was given time to gather more signatures after it submitted 65,413 names on July 5. Only 36,495 names from that batch were certified as being from registered voters, leaving organizers shy of the required 62,507 verified names.

The group's treasurer, Melissa Fults, said organizers learned more about the process after submitting its first batch of signatures. This time, she said, they made sure that volunteers and paid canvassers asked people when and where they last voted before asking them to sign the petition to help ensure the signees were registered voters.

Arkansas: Group gains support to make medical marijuana legal

By Will DuPree, Video Journalist

There is a truth that must be heard! JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – A petition is circulating statewide to allow the sick and dying access to medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

The Arkansans for Compassionate Care, or ACC, are encouraging others to support the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, which would decriminalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

"It's common sense," said Ryan Denhem, campaign director. "It's time to have a policy like this in Arkansas."

Denham spoke to Region 8 News by phone Wednesday from Fayetteville, where the ACC is located. He says a growing number of volunteers has helped the group collect more than 20,000 signatures since May 2011, but that's a third of what's needed to get the issue on the ballot in November.

"If that passes, it will allow patients a safe environment, a tightly regulated, controlled environment, to purchase medical marijuana with a doctor's supervision," Denhem said.

Arkansas: Group Trying To Push Medical Marijuana Issue

By Jordan Grummer, Times Record

Arkansas: Group Trying To Push Medical Marijuana Issue The leader of Arkansans for Compassionate Care said his group is hoping to gain more support in Sebastian County for a proposed measure that would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state.

In April, the organization was given until July 6, 2012, to collect 62,507 signatures from registered voters to qualify the proposal — The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act — for the November 2012 general election ballot. So far, about 16,000 signatures have been gathered, but less than 1,000 of those have come from voters in Sebastian County, said ACC spokesman Ryan Denham on Wednesday during a meeting at Sweet Bay Coffee, 3400 Rogers Ave.

The meeting was for people interested in volunteering to gather signatures for the initiative that would make Arkansas the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana, but it only attracted two people not affiliated with the group. Denham remained optimistic about the movement in the Fort Smith area despite the lack of attendance. He said the meeting was only made official about three days ago, and more attention has been placed, so far, on places like Little Rock, Jonesboro and the northwest Arkansas region, where support has "been strong."

The meeting was also at 3 p.m. on a business day, he added.

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