Leaders in the health care, agricultural and legal sectors have formed the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association, a nonprofit that aims to be the primary industry group for the state’s medical marijuana industry.
Members include David Couch, the Little Rock attorney who wrote the medical marijuana amendment approved by voters in November. Couch is a board member and acting executive director of the association.
“Arkansas voters made clear that they want sensible, safe medical marijuana policy in this state, because they recognize the clear evidence that cannabinoids are effective in pain relief and treating a number of chronic illnesses,” Couch said in a news release. “Our association will be a partnership of all those with a common interest in ensuring the state stays true to the will of the voters and medical marijuana operations are run safely and legally.”
The association said it “will engage in the policy making process to advocate for the industry, educate licensees on best practices to help self-regulate the industry, and conduct public education initiatives about the medical marijuana industry at large and the safe use of the drug for medicinal purposes.”
A seven-member board will oversee the association. In addition to Couch, its members are:
• Dr. Steven Cathey of Little Rock, chairman, a neurosurgeon and chairman of the Arkansas State Medical Board. Cathey is board certified in neurological surgery. The Monticello native has been practicing for more than 35 years.
• Stephen LaFrance of Little Rock, former executive vice president of USA Drug of Pine Bluff, which was the nation’s largest privately owned pharmacy chain when it sold to Walgreens in 2012. LaFrance is principal officer and owner of Dale Capital Partners Inc. and is a founding investor and board member of Greenwoods State Bank of Lake Mills, Wisconsin, and is the founder of