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Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission Will Issue Cultivation Licenses Based on Merit, Sets Application Fee at $15,000

December 29, 2016

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (the “Commission”) continued to refine the rules and application process for becoming a licensed medical marijuana cultivator in its final meetings of 2016.

In its December 22, 2016, meeting, the Commission answered one of the most frequently asked questions about medical marijuana licenses – whether licenses would be granted through a merit-based system or through a lottery – by voting 5-0 to evaluate cultivator applicants using a merit-based system.

The Commission also started identifying the criteria that will be used to evaluate the merit of potential cultivators, voting unanimously that the inclusion of a medical professional on the cultivator’s board or in its business plan would add to the application’s merit. Other potential criteria suggested by the Commission’s draft cultivator rules include: the applicant’s knowledge, education, and experience with regulated industries, agriculture or horticulture; secure inventory tracking and control; and the ownership or management of a business requiring twenty-four hour security monitoring.

At its last meeting of the year, on December 27, 2016, the Commission set the cultivator application fee at $15,000, the maximum amount allowed by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment. Following the practice of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration, 50 percent of the fee will be refunded to unsuccessful applicants.

The Commission also set the cultivator application period at 90 days from publication of the final application criteria.

The Commission’s next meetings are set for 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 3, 2017, and 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

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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