Initiative 7: The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act

What will appear on the ballot?

An act making the medical use of cannabis, commonly called marijuana, legal under Arkansas state law, but acknowledging that cannabis use, possession, and distribution for any purpose remain illegal under federal law; establishing a system for the cultivation and distribution of cannabis for qualifying patients through nonprofit cannabis care centers and for the testing for quality, safety, and potency of cannabis through cannabis testing labs; granting nonprofit cannabis care centers and cannabis testing labs limited immunity; allowing localities to limit the number of nonprofit cannabis care centers and to enact zoning regulations governing their operations; providing that qualifying patients, their designated caregivers, cannabis testing lab agents, and nonprofit cannabis care center agents shall not be subject to criminal or civil penalties or other forms of discrimination for engaging in or assisting with qualifying patients’ medical use of cannabis or for testing and labeling cannabis; allowing limited cultivation of cannabis by qualifying patients and designated caregivers if the qualifying patient lives more than twenty (20) miles from a nonprofit cannabis care center and obtains a hardship cultivation certificate from the Department of Health; allowing compensation for designated caregivers; requiring that in order to become a qualifying patient, a person submit to the state a written certification from a physician that he or she is suffering from a qualifying medical condition; establishing an initial list of qualifying medical conditions; directing the Department of Health to establish rules related to the processing of applications for registry identification cards and hardship cultivation certificates, the operations of nonprofit cannabis care centers and cannabis testing labs, and the addition of qualifying medical conditions if such additions will enable patients to derive therapeutic benefit from the medical use of cannabis; setting maximum application and renewal fees for nonprofit cannabis care centers and cannabis testing labs; directing the Department of Health to establish a system to provide affordable cannabis from nonprofit cannabis care centers to low income patients; establishing qualifications for registry identification cards; establishing qualifications for hardship cultivation certificates; establishing standards to ensure that qualifying patient and designated caregiver registration information is treated as confidential; directing the Department of Health to provide the legislature annual quantitative reports about the medical cannabis program; setting certain limitations on the use of medical cannabis by qualifying patients; establishing an affirmative defense for the medical use of cannabis; establishing registration and operation requirements for nonprofit cannabis care centers and cannabis testing labs; setting limits on the number of nonprofit cannabis care centers; setting limits on the amount of cannabis a nonprofit cannabis care center may cultivate and the amount of usable cannabis a nonprofit cannabis care center may dispense to a qualifying patient; prohibiting certain conduct by and imposing certain conditions and requirements on physicians, nonprofit cannabis care centers, nonprofit cannabis care center agents, cannabis testing labs, cannabis testing lab agents, qualifying patients, and designated caregivers; prohibiting felons from serving as designated caregivers, owners, board members, or officers of nonprofit cannabis care centers or cannabis testing labs, nonprofit cannabis care center agents, or cannabis testing lab agents; allowing visiting qualifying patients suffering from qualifying medical conditions to utilize the medical cannabis program; and prohibiting special taxes on the sale of medical cannabis and directing the state sales tax revenues received from the sale of cannabis to cover the costs to the Department of Health for administering the medical cannabis program and the remainder to aid low income qualifying patients through the affordability clause.

Full Text

What is actually in the initiative?

  • “Qualifying Medical Condition” means one (1) or more of the following:
    • (1) Adiposis Dolorosa (Dercum’s Disease); Alzheimer’s Disease or the agitation thereof; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); Anorexia; Arnold-Chiari Malformation; Arthritis; Asthma; Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD); Autism; Bipolar Disorder; Bulimia;Cancer; Causalgia; Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP); Chronic Insomnia; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)—Types I and II; Crohn’s Disease; Dystonia; Emphysema; Fibrous Dysplasia; Fibromyalgia; General Anxiety Disorder; Glaucoma; Hepatitis C; Positive Status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and/or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS); Hydrocephalus; Hydromyelia; Interstitial Cystitis; Lupus; Migraines; Myasthenia Gravis; Myoclonus; Nail-Patella Syndrome; Neurofibromatosis; Parkinson’s Disease; Posterior Lateral Sclerosis(PLS); Post-Concussion Syndrome; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD); Residual Limb and Phantom Pain; Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS); Sjogren’s Syndrome; Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA); Spinal Cord Injury and/or disease (including but not limited to Arachnoiditis); Syringomelia; Tarlov Cysts; Tourette’s Syndrome; Traumatic Brain Injury; Ulcerative Colitis; or the treatment of any of these conditions.
    •  (2) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: 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 three (3) months; severe nausea; seizures, including those characteristic of Epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis; or
    • (3) Any other medical condition or its treatment approved by The Department as provided for in subsection 104(i).
  • Protects qualified patients with an ID card and their designated care givers from being prosecuted in any way, regarding the medical use of cannabis, as long as they follow the regulations in this initiative.
  • Allows each patient up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis every 15 days.
  • Establishes Non-Profit Cannabis Care Centers to cultivate and dispense medical cannabis.
  • Allows patients who live more than 20 miles from their nearest Cannabis Cultivation Center, to apply for a Hardship Cultivation Certificate, which would allow them to maintain 10 cannabis plants at their home (only 5 of which may exceed 12 inches in height or diameter.) These plants must be kept in an Enclosed Locked Facility. Allows department investigation of the home during normal business hours to ensure compliance. Patients with a felony, cannot receive a Cannabis Cultivation Certificate.
  • Protects patients from discrimination by schools, landlords, organ transplant lists, employers and guards their parental rights. In all these cases, medical cannabis must be treated like any other prescription. They are allowed to prevent use on their property, such as with cigarettes, and they are allowed to expect your quality of work and such to not be affected because of the medication.
  • Recognizes Medical ID cards from other states.
  • Establishes Cannabis Testing Labs to ensure the safety, potency and quality.
  • Only allows for state and local sales tax to be applied. These taxes are to be used to cover administrative costs associated with administering medical cannabis. Provides that any sales tax left after costs, and up to 1% of each Cannabis Care Center’s gross revenue, must be used to provide medical cannabis to low income patients that can’t afford the needed amount.
  • ID Cards, Hardship Cultivation Certificates, Cannabis Care Centers & Cannabis Testing Labs will have to be renewed annually.
  • Prohibits the undertaking of any task while under the influence that would constitute negligence or professional malpractice. Prohibits the use or possession in a school bus, at a daycare or any school, at a treatment facility, any type of community or recreational center, correctional facility, public transportation, or in public. It also prohibits the operation of any motor vehicles or heavy machinery while under the influence.
  • Limits the number of Cannabis Care Centers to 1 for every 20 pharmacies licensed in the state. Allows counties and cities to limit the number of Cannabis Care Centers as it sees fit.
  • Cannabis Care Centers & Cannabis Testing Labs may not be within 1,000 feet of the property line of an existing public or private school.

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