Could Be Spring Before AR Canna-biz Blooms

Medical Marijuana Commission gives status update Monday

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission met Monday for the first time since its September 18th application deadline. A little less than a month later, the status of most of those 322 applications is still up in the air. 

A rough timeline given by the commissioners Monday means it could be well into next spring before this budding industry actually starts to bloom. 

"It's a little ambiguous," said Storm Nolan, President of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association. Nolan is also an applicant and came to Monday's meeting for an update on the status of applications. 

"We have a beautiful 83,000 square foot warehouse just sitting there ready to go," Nolan said. 

That warehouse could stand empty for months to come. While commissioners set December 15th as a soft deadline to start grading cultivation applications, it will take even longer to tackle dispensary applications, as there are far more. 

Alcoholic Beverage Control, tasked with the preliminary application review, says it also found discrepancies between the language in the rules and the language in the actual applications, causing further delays. 

Nolan says he feels for the patients who are waiting for access to the medication, making it hard for some to keep patience during this process. Based on the number of applications that met the minimum criteria, it could be until spring of 2018 when licenses are awarded. 

One thing's for sure...Nolan says he isn't just sitting around as he waits to hear if his application gets the green light, or if all his hard work goes up in smoke. 

"Lots of work still to do," he said. 

Monday's commission meeting did produce some good news for applicants that may have been disqualified on a technicality in the preliminary round. Because of how the commission decided to handle some of those rules/application discrepancy issues, some of those people could be back in the running. 

No word as of Monday how many applications were denied in ABC's preliminary round. However, whatever the number is, it is expected to change as ABC sorts through the discrepancy issues it approached the commission about today.  
 


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