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Arkansas Legislature Moves Toward Delaying Medical Marijuana

January 20, 2017

Though legislative leaders are saying that they prefer state agencies and the Medical Marijuana Commission (the “Commission”) to do the bulk of implementing the legalization and usage of medical marijuana, lawmakers continue to organize legislation on the matter.

Yesterday, the House acted on two medical marijuana proposals approved by the House Rules Committee (the “Committee”) last week.

House Bill 1026 would delay implementation of the use of medical marijuana by 60 days. The House unanimously approved HB 1026 by a vote of 91-0 . The practical effect of the bill is to give the Commission and other state agencies additional time to craft the rules and regulations that will govern growing, dispensing, and distributing medical marijuana. Currently, rules and regulations must be finalized by March 2017. House Bill 1026 extends that deadline to May 2017. It will also extend the deadline for the state to begin accepting applications for dispensaries and cultivation facilities from June 1, 2017, to July 1, 2017. The full text of HB 1026 can be found here: https://legiscan.com/AR/text/HB1026/2017

In addition, House Bill 1058 would prevent medical marijuana records from being deemed “medical records” subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). The Committee returned HB 1058 with the recommendation that it pass as amended. The full text of HB 1028 can be found here: https://legiscan.com/AR/text/HB1058/2017

As more and more delays, rules, and regulations are rolled out by lawmakers, those interested in the new Arkansas market may begin to wonder how expensive the setup will eventually be.

The members of the Mitchell Williams Medical Marijuana Practice Group are Harry Hamlin, Morril Harriman, Jr., Martha Hill, Melissa Bandy, Benjamin Brenner, Courtney Crouch, Meg Johnston, Alan Lewis, Bethany Marshall, Nicole Lovell, Scott Schallhorn, and Mary Catherine Way.

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