Arkansas Medical Cannabis Program Turnaround

Medicinal marijuana in Arkansas

Just over a month ago, Arkansas’ medical cannabis program looked to be in serious trouble – how things have changed over the last couple of weeks.

In August, we reported at that point in time there were no applications lodged for growing or dispensing medicinal cannabis in the state and patient registration was less than stellar.

By late August, only two submissions had been received for cultivation.

The pace picked up dramatically recently, particularly in the final days. The number of applications for cultivation has gone from zero to 98 and from zilch to 224 for dispensing according to the editor of Arkansas Business, Gwen Moritz.

Ms. Moritz stated more than 200 of the total number of applications were submitted on Monday’s deadline.

A news item on Arkansas Business states some applicants lined up for hours to submit their documentation. Most will ultimately be disappointed as five growers and 32 distributors will be selected from the pool of hopefuls. The reviewers have a huge task ahead, with each application apparently consisting of around 1,000 pages on average.

On the patient side of things, Arkansas Health Department has reportedly approved 1,200 people for the state’s medical marijuana registry. By mid-August, there had only been just over 400 applications received.

As to when the program will officially kick off, that’s still not clear and probably won’t be for some time.

In other news out of the state,  the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association hosted a half-day symposium on cannabis industry and regulatory issues earlier today.

The event featured a presentation by talk-show host and medical marijuana advocate Montel Williams. Mr. Williams is also the founder of Lenitiv Scientific, a medical cannabis company.

“I believe a well-regulated, patient-focused medical marijuana program in Arkansas will lead to conversations in state capitols throughout the South,” says Mr. Williams.

The issue of medical cannabis goes beyond business for Mr. Williams. He suffers from Multiple Sclerosis; a condition with symptoms that can be alleviated by cannabis medicines.

In July, the UK’s MS Society called on that nation’s government to legalise cannabis to treat pain and muscle spasm in MS patients, a strong signal of growing acceptance of the medical potential of the plant.