Bill to extend rulemaking period, application start date for medical marijuana introduced

Bill to extend rulemaking period, application start date for medical marijuana introduced

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - State officials would have more time to come up with rules to implement and issue licenses for the state's medical marijuana program, under a bill filed Wednesday in the state legislature.

Rep. Doug House, R-North Little Rock filed House Bill 1026 at the capital. The bill would seek to amend the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016, dealing with the dates for rule making as well as setting a date to begin accepting applications for dispensaries and cultivation facilities.

The bill would set a July 1 start date for both parts of the amendment. Under the current law, which takes effect Jan. 1, the rules are required to be completed within 120 days while applications will be taken starting June 1.

"It is an unwise expenditure of public resources to enact the necessary appropriations, acts and establish the necessary fiscal and regulatory provisions for a one-month period beginning on June 1, 2017; and the date of July 1, 2017 is a better effective date for the Medical Marijuana Commission to begin accepting applications," House wrote in the bill.

Arkansas voters approved the measure by a 53-47% margin on Nov. 8.

Under the amendment, there would be at least 20 but no more than 40 dispensary licenses issued as well as at least four but no more than eight cultivation licenses for the program.

There will be a five-member commission to regulate and administer the program, while the medical marijuana would be subject to both state and local sales taxes.

The tax revenue, under the constitutional amendment, would be divided as follows:

  • 50% to the Vocational and Technical Training Special Revenue Fund.
  • 30% to the state General Revenue Fund.
  • 10% to the Skills Development Fund.
  • 5% to the Arkansas Department of Health.
  • 2% to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration Division.
  • 2% to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Division.
  • 1% to the Medical Marijuana Commission.

The legislative session starts Jan. 9 in Little Rock.

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