Access granted: ADH issuing medical marijuana cards

Dana Keener
Staff Writer

After close to three years, many voters in Arkansas have finally received news for which they have been waiting. The Arkansas Department of Health announced early Thursday, February 14, 2019, that they have begun issuing Arkansas Medical Marijuana Registry ID cards on Monday, February 11, 2019. So far, there are 7000 patients approved.
In 2016, Arkansans voted to approve the sale of medical marijuana with 53 percent in favor. Since then, establishing the medical marijuana market in this state has seen many obstacles.
The latest development from Wednesday, February 13, 2019, Arkansas Representative, Doug House, (R), saw his effort to expand med mari access to more patients, denied. House filed a bill that would add over 40 more medical conditions to the list of qualifying conditions. Under the current law there are 18 qualifying medical conditions.
The cards will be effective today, and are good for one year from today’s date, unless the prescribing physician specifies a different length of time on the patient’s certification form.
Dr. Nate Smith, director of Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), asserted that the decision to issue the cards was not because Oklahoma announced in January that they were granting temporary, out-of-state licenses to any approved patient with a valid card.
Throughout the highs and lows of establishing the rules and regulations in this state, the ADH maintained that the cards would be issued 30 days prior to the opening of the dispensaries. There are no dispensaries opening in Hot Spring County, but neighboring Garland County will have four opening soon.


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