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arkansas medical marijuana association

Association Roundup: Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association

Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association

In November 2016, more than 53 percent of Arkansas voters approved Issue 6, legalizing medical marijuana for 17 qualifying conditions. Almost a year and a half later, the program is still in the process of being implemented due to legal challenges. Shortly after the bill’s approval, the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association and Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association emerged as advocates for the new, budding industry. The two trade groups merged under the name the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association (ACIA) in December 2018 to form a singular, united voice for cannabis advocacy in Arkansas.

The ACIA is a 501(c)(6) industry trade association advocating for laws, regulations and public policies that foster a healthy, professional and accountable medical cannabis industry. The association’s three-pronged mission focuses on education, protecting patients and advocacy. It is governed by a 12-member board, made up of representatives from licensed cultivators, dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses and promotes legislative and policy advocacy, cooperative advertising and marketing opportunities, special events and networking.

“We are charged with protecting industry stakeholders and patients from overly burdensome regulations and laws that would infringe on access to medical cannabis,” says Robert DeBin, president of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association board.

To meet that goal, the ACIA holds education seminars teach Arkansans about the science behind medical cannabis and how it treats the current qualifying medical conditions. The association holds seminars for health care providers – doctors, nurses and pharmacists – to educate them about medical cannabis and how it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The sessions, often applicable for continuing medical education credit, are designed to help medical professionals have informed conversations about medical cannabis with their patients who have a qualifying condition approved by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), including ADD/ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, migraines, and more.

In addition to helping the medical community, the ACIA helps patients find a physician to write a medical cannabis certification and how to submit an application for a patient card to the ADH.

Another aspect of their mission is to educate those who want to join the cannabis industry in Arkansas, in particular, operators of dispensaries and cultivation facilities. Their education centers around issues with taxation, extraction, general business operations and security.

“Knowledge is the main limit to the success of the medical cannabis business in Arkansas,” DeBin says. “The more that patients, physicians, industry professionals and regulators know about medical cannabis, the better off the industry will be.”

In November 2016, more than 53 percent of Arkansas voters approved Issue 6, legalizing medical marijuana for 17 qualifying conditions. Almost a year and a half later, the program is still in the process of being implemented due to legal challenges.

Our Mission

The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association (ACIA) is a 501(c)(6) cannabis industry trade association advocating for laws, regulations, and public policies that foster a healthy, professional and accountable medical cannabis industry in our state.

Our mission has four main components:

  • Advocating for the Industry
  • Education
  • Bringing the Industry Together
  • Protecting Patients

Advocating for the Industry

ACIA is committed to becoming a recognized and trusted voice before policymakers, regulators, and the community at large. We are charged with protecting the industry from overly burdensome regulations and laws that would impede industry growth and infringe on the rights of patients to access medical cannabis. To achieve these goals, we actively monitor new proposed legislation and regulatory actions supporting and/or advocating against policies that would do harm to the industry. Simply, we serve as the eyes and ears for the industry.

Education

Knowledge is key to the success of Arkansas’s medical cannabis industry. The more that patients, physicians, and industry businesses know about medical cannabis, the stronger the industry will be.

Patients

We hold patient education seminars in order to teach Arkansans about the science behind medical cannabis, how medical cannabis can treat the current qualifying medical conditions, how to find a physician to write a medical cannabis certification, and how to submit the application for a patient card to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).

Physicians

We hold seminars geared towards the healthcare industry (nurses, doctors, and pharmacists) in order to educate them about medical cannabis and how it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Many physicians are hesitant to write medical cannabis certifications for their patients because they don’t understand the medical benefits of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant; this has not been taught in medical school. These seminars, which often award CEU credits, are designed to allow healthcare professionals to be able to have informed conversations about medical cannabis with their patients. As a reminder, doctors are not required to prescribe or recommend medical cannabis for their patients, they are just certifying that patients have a listed qualifying medical condition, as recognized by the ADH.

Business License Holders

ACIA offers professional development and networking opportunities to our industry members. We’ve held seminars ranging from taxation to extraction, to general business operations and security. We want to help industry participants operate better businesses, providing high quality and affordable cannabis to the patients of Arkansas.

Bringing the Industry Together

ACIA is an association that aims to meet the diverse needs of our members by providing exceptional professional development and networking opportunities.

It is APAIC’s goal to work closely with cultivators and dispensaries to develop a robust industry in Arkansas that meets the needs of our state’s medical cannabis patients while protecting the best interests of the businesses that serve them.

Protecting Patients

Patients in Arkansas deserve high quality, safe, and affordable medical cannabis. We aim to promote cannabis product safety by educating our members on proper production, testing, and packaging procedures. We also protect patients by advocating against overly burdensome laws and regulations that would make medical cannabis more expensive in Arkansas. For example, we fought against proposed bills that would have prohibited the sale of cannabis in Arkansas until it becomes legal federally, we fought against bans on smoking cannabis, and we fought against a ban on cannabis edibles, which is often a preferred method of ingestion for the elderly.

Our Mission The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association (ACIA) is a 501(c)(6) cannabis industry trade association advocating for laws, regulations, and public policies that foster a healthy,