A new pro-medical marijuana association has been formed that includes as board members a former Arkansas attorney general and the author of the amendment that brought medical marijuana to the state. It is the second association claiming to represent the state’s upstart medical marijuana industry.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association announced Wednesday it will be the “leading voice for medical marijuana cultivators, distributors and businesses that serve the industry in the Natural State.” The media notice said the group also will be a lobbyist for the industry, educate those in the industry on “best practices,” and work to educate the public about the industry and “the safe use of the drug for medicinal purposes.”
David Couch, acting executive director and one of seven board members with the new association, said part of the mission is to ensure state officials abide by the amendment structure as approved by voters. Arkansas voters approved of Amendment 98 in 2016 by a 53%-47% margin.
“Arkansas voters made clear that they want sensible, safe medical marijuana policy in this state, because they recognize the clear evidence that cannabinoids are effective in pain relief and treating a number of chronic illnesses,” Couch said. “Our association will be a partnership of all those with a common interest in ensuring the state stays true to the will of the voters and medical marijuana operations are run safely and legally.”
A full website should be operational within the next two weeks. Getting a board in place was the first step for the group, and the next effort will be to hire a full-time executive director and support staff as needed. Medical marijuana cultivators and distributors are eligible for full AMMA membership, and associate memberships are available to industry-related businesses and organizations.