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Arkansas Political Leaders Name 5 to Cannabis Panel They Opposed

December 7, 2016
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas political leaders on Wednesday named five people to the state Medical Marijuana Commission, setting up a panel that will adopt policies and regulations that each of the elected officials opposed when ballot issues were considered at the polls last month.
“We were rather vocal in our opposition to the amendment, but the people spoke and it is our responsibility to take the steps necessary to implement in a fair and responsible way the amendment that was passed by the people of Arkansas,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.

The governor and the leaders of the Arkansas House and Senate appointed a panel that includes a breast cancer surgeon, a pain specialist, a pharmacist, a former Senate chief of staff and a lawyer. Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said there had been a discussion of perhaps placing someone from law enforcement on the commission but it was determined the other specialties were more important.

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Hutchinson appointed Little Rock breast cancer surgeon Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillma. Gillam appointed Benton pharmacist Stephen Carroll and lawyer Travis Story of Fayetteville. Dismang named former Senate chief of staff James Miller of Bryant and pain specialist Dr. J. Carlos Roman of Little Rock.

Senate President Jonathan Dismang, a Republican, said his appointees voted against the medical cannabis amendment, known as Issue 6 on the November ballot. Hutchinson and GOP House Speaker Jeremy Gillam did not say how their appointees voted.

While Arkansas becomes the first Bible Belt state to allow medical marijuana, there are still federal laws against cannabis use.

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Under the state constitutional amendment adopted last month, the commission will establish rules governing cannabis distribution to people suffering from certain medical conditions. It can license between four and eight growing centers and authorize between 20 and 40 dispensaries. No county can have more than four distribution sites.

The governor said he would prefer that the panel distribute licenses on a lottery basis, such as what is done for liquor permits among applicants who meet the state’s requirements.

The amendment gives the state four months to establish the rules.

“We only have one time to get it right,” Hutchinson said.

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  • Johnny oneye

    What he really wanted was to veto
    This is plan b to use
    A committe to deny access
    #enprohibition dont add to it!

  • GoWiThaFlo

    Cannabis haters everywhere should take note of the fair response from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. They would be wise to follow suit with no further delay. Though he refused to repeal the Schedule I status of “marihuana” during his DEA tenure, according to Wikipedia, Hutchinson did push for needed changes to the DEA bureaucracy as well as promote the creation of treatment programs and drug courts. He’s also spoken publicly in favor of medical cannabis, completely contradicting the Schedule I assertion of “no currently accepted medical use” that DEA agents nationwide are supposed to enforce. I hope the reaction from Asa Hutchinson, a seasoned public official, finally portends the last days of this federal “marihuana” fraud.

  • Joe

    The prohibition of marijuana under the Regan administration has been a failure. So why you think that marijuana is not all over the southern states. How stupid are you people. The only difference is legal marijuana undercut the black market, regulated marijuana got 0% chance to get to a minor hands, that black market marijuana. This is the result of prohibition, the Regan loss war on drugs legacy.