A Fayetteville pain management physician will serve as chairman of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association, the group announced Monday.
Regina Thurman is medical director for Optimal Pain and Wellness. She specializes in using comprehensive approaches for the treatment of pain, according to a news release.
“As a pain management specialist, I recognize that prescription medical marijuana may be an important alternative treatment for a patient, as opposed to opioids, many of which are highly addictive,” she said in a statement.
She could not be reached for comment Monday.
The association had named Dr. Steven Cathey, a neurosurgeon who is head of the state Medical Board, as chairman. However, Cathey, whose office is in North Little Rock, said after that earlier announcement that he was never part of the group.
“I believe that organized medicine should be involved in implementing the policies regarding this newly approved medicinal drug, but because of what I believed to be a conflict of interest, I declined to accept an offer to serve on this association,” he said in an interview last week.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association is competing with the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, which formed earlier this year, to represent the industry in Arkansas. The state currently is accepting applications for growing and selling the drug for medical purposes. Medical marijuana was approved by voters in the November 2016 general election.
The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association has been holding events across Arkansas. For example, today at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Little Rock, the association is holding a seminar on making marijuana extracts using ethanol.
The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association last week hired Erin Holland, owner of Amplify Digital Media & Marketing, to serve as media