KEVIN RUSSELL

Sen. Jonathan Dismang, president pro tempore of the Senate, announced this afternoon that he’d appointed Kevin Russell of Benton to fill a four-year term on the state Medical Marijuana Commission.

His letter said the appointment was made “in consultation” with Sen. Jim Hendren, who will succeed Dismang in the Senate leadership role when the legislature convenes next month.

The Senate president names two members of the Commission. Dismang appointed James Miller and Dr. Carlos Roman to the original panel.

The announcement of Russell’s appointment didn’t specify which seat Russell was taking or provide any background for him. But Miller recently resigned from the Board with two years left to serve on his term. Roman’s initial appointment to a two-year term is about to expire and Russell will take his seat. Roman’s tenure has been marked by controversy over his scoring of marijuana cultivation permit applications.

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Russell is a Benton police captain and 19-year veteran of the Benton Police Department. The captain has written about problems with prescription drug abuse.  The Magnolia Reporter noted his appearance on marijuana before a South Arkansas group to discuss marijuana’s “legal and medical consequences.”