Medical marijuana: State representative seeks to expand qualifying conditions

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

By Kelby Newcomb

A proposed bill could expand the list of medical conditions that qualify Arkansas residents for a medical marijuana card.

State Rep. Douglas House introduced House Bill 1150 last week. The bill would amend Amendment 98, also known as the “Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016, to modify the definition of “qualifying medical condition.”

If passed, the bill would eliminate glaucoma as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana and add nearly 40 new qualifying conditions.

The amendment would add the following to qualifying conditions: adiposis dolorosa (Dercum’s Disease), anorexia, Anrold-Chiari malformation, asthma, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHA), autism, bipolar disorder, bulimia, causalgia, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, chronic insomnia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, complex regional pain syndrome (Type I and Type II), dystonia, emphysema, fibrous dysplasia, general anxiety disorder, hydrocephalus, hydromyelia, interstitial cystitis, lupus, migraine, myasthenia gravis, myoclonus, nail-patella syndrome, neurofibromatosis, Parkinson’s Disease, posterior lateral sclerosis, post-concussion syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, residual limb and phantom pain, restless leg syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, spinocerebellar ataxia, spinal cord injury or disease (including “without limitation” arachnoiditis), syringomyelia, Tarlov cysts and traumatic brain injury.

Carroll County is slated to get a medical marijuana cultivation facility and possibly a dispensary, too. Osage Creek Cultivation, owned by Jay Trulove of Berryville, was awarded one of five cultivation licenses for the state.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission voted Wednesday, Jan. 9, to approve the scores for dispensary applications in the state, and Eureka Green placed fifth for Zone 1.

Dr. Dan Bell and Suzie Bell of Eureka Springs are investors in Eureka Green.

For Zone 1 in Northwest Arkansas, the top four dispensary scores were as follows: Acanza Health Group, Northwest Arkansas Medical Cannabis (Valentine Holdings), Arkansas Medicinal Source Patient Center and the Releaf Center.

There will be a two-week process to officially issue the licenses. Applicants who had high point totals in multiple zones will have to pick a zone, meaning Eureka Green could still receive a license. The Releaf Center had a score of 371.06, and Eureka Green had a score of 370.39.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (ADFA) said Friday, Jan. 18, that the state has issued licenses to six of the 32 approved dispensaries after the companies paid the $15,000 licensing fee and posted the $100,000 performance bond. Licenses will be awarded to the remaining companies over the next week as they pay the fee and post the bond.

The dispensaries can begin building or preparing their facilities but must pass a final inspection before they can officially open for business.

The ADFA said sales are not expected to begin until April at the earliest.

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