At Medicine Man Technologies, we’re excited to see that the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment is moving to its next phase of implementation. As of June 30, 2017, the state’s Department of Health is taking applications for medical marijuana registry identification cards, and if you would like to operate a cultivation facility or dispensary, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will now take your application.
We’re very aware of how complicated all of these processes can be and our Medicine Man Technologies team has helped numerous clients in several states with their applications and licenses. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about applying in Arkansas.
Applying for a Dispensary License
The MMC will certify up to 32 dispensaries to operate across the state, 4 in each of the 8 geographic zones. Applications must be hand delivered by September 18, 2107 and include the $7,500 fee (half is refunded if a license is not rewarded). While selection was previously lottery-based, it was changed in April to be a merit-based system. Here’s more:
- Individual applicants must be current Arkansas residents who have resided in the state for at least 7 consecutive years prior to the application date.
- For enterprises, at least 60% of the equity of applicants must be owned by Arkansas residents.
- You may not have interest in more than 1 Arkansas cultivation and 1 dispensary operation.
- You must provide proof that your proposed dispensary location is at least 1,500 feet from a public or private school, church or daycare – from your main entry to the nearest property line. The MCC recently defined schools as K-12 institutions, excluding colleges and universities.
- Applicants must provide proof of assets or surety bond of $200,000, and at least $100,000 in liquid assets. If the applicant posts a surety bond, it must be maintained until the applicant has withdrawn, been denied, or if selected, paid the licensing fee and submitted to the MMC a performance bond of $100,000.
- If selected, the initial licensing fee for growing and non-growing dispensaries is $15,000 and annual renewals are $22,500.
- All identities on applications (both cultivation and dispensary) will be removed so that the commissioners will not know the personal identity of the applicants.
- With the new merit system, bonus points will be added to the application if the majority of the ownership belongs to veterans or minorities. Whether or not you opt to also grow medical marijuana will not have an effect on merit.
Applying for a Cultivation License
To supply the state’s 32 dispensaries, the MMC will approve 5 cultivation sites. Again, applications must be hand delivered by September 18, 2107 and include a $15,000 fee with half returned if you are not awarded. Licenses will also be granted based on a merit-based system with all residency and ownership requirements listed in the first three bullet points applicable to cultivation operations. Key differences:
- You must provide proof that your proposed cultivation location is at least 3,000 feet from a public or private school, church or daycare – from your main entry to the nearest property line.
- Applicants must provide proof of assets or surety bond of $1,000,000, and at least $500,000 in liquid assets. If the applicant posts a surety bond, it must be maintained until the applicant has withdrawn, been denied, or if selected, paid the licensing fee and submitted to the MMC a performance bond of $500,000.
- Your performance bond must then be maintained until your cultivation facility files its first required sales tax report Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration for the sale of usable marijuana.
- If selected, the initial licensing fee and subsequent annual renewals are $100,000 in certified funds due within 7 days after receiving written notice from the MMC.
Applying for an Arkansas Medical Marijuana Registry ID Card
The state has made it easy for adults (18+) to apply by offering an online option or the ability to print out the form and mail it to the Department of Health. When applying, you’ll need to provide your proof of Arkansas residency (driver’s license or state ID), pay the non-refundable $50 application fee and have a Physician Written Certification (doctors may be contacted to verify) for a qualifying condition:
- Positive status for HIV/AIDS
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe arthritis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Intractable pain which is pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six (6) months
- Severe nausea
- Seizures including without limitation those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms including without limitation those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
If you suffer from any other medical conditions not listed, you also have the option of petitioning the Department of Health. Within a 120-day window, a hearing will take place and your request will be either approved or denied. The Arkansas Drug Policy Education Group is also working to add more conditions such as: ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, autism, severe insomnia, migraines and more.
Here are a few other items you’ll need to know when applying:
- Once received the Department of Health, it will take up to 14 days to process everything and cards will be issued one month before medical marijuana is available at dispensaries.
- Both patient and caregiver applications and renewals require payment of a $50 fee.
- If completed online, a caregiver criminal background check is an added $34. If the caregiver has more than one patient, they must apply and pay for a registry card for each patient.
- Your Arkansas medical marijuana registry ID card is valid for 1 year from the date it was issued or the amount of time chosen by your physician. If your card expires, your legal protection expires and you will not be able to purchase medical marijuana.
- In April of 2017, the state’s legislature passed Act 479 which bans Arkansas National Guard or U.S. military members from being patients or caregivers.
As you can see, there’s quite a bit of information to digest when applying for the Arkansas medical marijuana program, especially in the areas of cultivation and dispensary operations. To help you make sense of all the rules and regulations, Medicine Man Technologies offers private consulting. Our team has the experience to help you navigate your way to success.