LITTLE ROCK, AR – Emergency rules that govern medical marijuana from seed to sell went into effect Monday.
There’s no drug to buy or sell at this point, but the key players, the Medical Marijuana Commission, Alcoholic Beverage Control Division and Arkansas Department of Health, are preparing for that moment.
“We want to make sure the process is as seamless as possible for the public,” said Robert Brech, the chief general counsel for ADH, who crafted the rules for the department.
Brech estimates 30,000 Arkansans will register for medical marijuana identification cards.
A three-person staff, the director of the program, a nurse and an administrator, will man the online application system on the department’s website, which they are testing this week.
The team will be responsible for processing every application and issuing the registration cards.
Before they can apply, Arkansans have to obtain written certification from a doctor that they have one of the qualifying conditions listed, including cancer, PTSD and seizures.
Brech said qualifying patients should be able to apply by the end of June but won’t receive their registration cards until 30 days before marijuana goes up for sale.
The cards are only good for one year.
“We don’t want people to waste six months of their registration time, pay the fee and there not be any marijuana for sale,” Brech said.
Brech expects that to happen in early 2018, hopefully giving Arkansans enough time to know the rules.
“The registration card will not protect anyone unless marijuana is bought in Arkansas through a dispensary,” he said.
The health department is also responsible for upholding the labeling and testing standards, which some worry could be too strict.
“We want to make sure that the products are as safe as possible,” Brech said. “We’ll continually look at