On June 13, 2017, the Arkansas Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee approved the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board’s proposed rules for the state medical marijuana program. The state’s Medical Marijuana Commission and the Department of Health assisted the ABC board at the meeting on Tuesday.
Though she has been a part of the agency since the beginning of the process, ABC director Mary Robin Casteel was selected as the leader of the board this past Friday. According to ABC 7, Casteel has helped to educate the board and the Medical Marijuana Commission on the guidelines and policies regarding the state’s legal dispensaries and cultivation sites.
“We have a lot of work to get done. We have some time to get ramped up in preparation for these facilities to come online. I don’t foresee them being operational before the first of the year. So we have an opportunity to get staff in place and make sure that our procedures are workable before marijuana is actually in the state,” Casteel stated.
Wary lawmakers bombarded the board and commission with questions, but some topics were off limits. Some lawmakers focused on the lack of prohibition for construction workers, while others questioned whether police officers would be able to recognize if a medical marijuana cardholder is too impaired to operate a vehicle.
Casteel acknowledged that the board, commission and DOH have prepared as best as they could, but that there would likely be more issues coming into play as the program grows.
“There’s no questions there’s going to be tweaks. This is a learn as you go thing, hopefully less than more and we’ve tried to be as thorough looking to other states to cover what we can but we completely understand we’ll have to make changes as we go,” she explained.
According to the Arkansas News, the newly approved rules are headed to the Legislative Council, which is slated to vote on the rules on June 16.