LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The clock is ticking for the new five member Medical Marijuana Commission to get the drug in patients hands. Monday, the group held its first public meeting.
Before medical marijuana will be ready for purchase, the commission has a long list of steps to complete; including creating rules and regulations to get dispensaries and cultivation facilities in the market.
The currently non-existent rules must be created. Within a 120 day period, the commission must figure out how marijuana will be grown, sold, and who qualifies to do either..
"We have some amazing members on the commission. They've done a great job at appointing. I think we are all prepared and ready to go for this," said newly appointed Medical Marijuana Commission Chairwoman Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman.
Members say they'll be looking to other states who already have medical marijuana to figure out what worked and what didn't.
“That's going to be how we'll pull this together so quickly," said Medical Marijuana Commission member Travis Story.
Working closely with the commission, the Health Department hopes to start issuing registry I.D. cards in March. The commission must begin accepting applications for the licenses to operate dispensaries and cultivation facilities no later than June 1. There will be 20 to 40 dispensaries to purchase from in the state with 4 to 8 cultivation facilities.
"Making a difference in patients’ lives and ensuring survival, not only survival but quality of life is very important," said Henry-Tillman.
Now, it's time to start planning, to implement what the voters of Arkansas asked for.
“We have to be serious and get going because otherwise there's not enough time to do a lot of different things and that’s our biggest challenge," said Story.