Gov. Asa Hutchinson today announced the members of the medical marijuana commission. (Benji is at the press conference and will have more shortly.) Hutchinson acknowledged that he had fought against the medical marijuana amendment but said the people had spoken and it was now time to implement the law “fairly and responsibly.”
The commission, established by an amendment to the Arkansas constitution approved by voters earlier this month, will “administer and regulate the licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities.” Hutchinson said the Department of Health and Department of Finance and Administration were already at work drafting proposed regulations to implement the new law.
The governor has one appointment to the commission, the Speaker of the House has two appointments, and the president of the Senate has two appointments.
Hutchinson appointed Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman of Little Rock. Henry-Tillman is a breast cancer surgeon and professor for the Department of Surgery at UAMS.
House Speaker Jeremy Gillam appointed Dr. Stephen Carroll, a pharmacist from Benton, and Fayetteville attorney Travis Story.
Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang appointed Dr. Carlos Roman of Little Rock, a pain management specialist, and James Miller, former chief of staff for the senate (Dismang cited Miller’s expertise in rules and regulations in the executive and legislative branch).
Dismang admitted that both of his appointments had voted against the medical marijuana amendment. Hutchinson and Gillam dodged the question.
Hutchinson, the former director of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, said that implementing a medical marijuana law “was a position I hoped I would never be in.” He added that he was still mindful “that there is a conflict with federal law. What we are doing in terms of implementing the people’s will in medical marijuana, it remains a violation of federal law. It remains to be seen as to what the Trump administration will do in this regard. … But until we get a change of policy from Washington, we proceed on with the will of the people.”
Today’s press conference can be seen on YouTube.