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Last month, Medical Marijuana Commissioner Carlos Roman, an anesthesiologist, joked that the appropriate venue for the commission’s first public hearing Friday would be Verizon Arena, the 18,000-seat venue for touring Top 40 musical acts, circuses and monster truck rallies.
Instead, the commission got the UA Little Rock’s Bowen School of Law — larger than the modest fifth-floor conference room inside 1515 W. 7th St. where the meetings have been, still smaller than the anticipated crowd.
The commission has received dozens of email comments already, a large number asking the body to rethink its plan for a lottery to pick 32 Arkansans to open retail storefronts for medical marijuana.
So far, Medical Marijuana Commission meetings are attended not by ailing patients waiting on this new-old therapy but enterprising folks interested in the buildout, the capitalism, like Gene Remley.
“I’ve been coming to all the meetings and just have an interest in cultivation center and dispensary. I’ve worked for the last 20 years in various campaigns to get this going, so, it’s on my bucket list.”
Remley is a retired finance guy. Another gentleman at or nearing retirement age is Ojima Robinson.
“The main thing I want to do, I want to get into it really to serve the people, to give the people something that would be beneficial.”
Robinson suffers from neuropathy, he says, one of the 18 qualifying conditions to get a medical marijuana recommendation from a doctor.
“I mean, there’s people really suffering out here that I think this would be a good product.”
Most business startups, the state doesn’t scrutinize. If they succeed, great, and if not, eh, it’s not so bad. You want to open an accounting firm or a lawncutting business? The Department of Finance and Administration isn’t