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Ep.216 Arkansas Cannabis

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.216 Arkansas Cannabis

Ep.216 Arkansas Cannabis

Melissa Fults, Issue 7 & David Couch, Issue 6

We dive into how medical came to pass in the state. Melissa Fults first joins us to discuss her focus on protecting medical marijuana patients in Arkansas. She explains that in 2012, the initiative narrowly missed passing. For 2016, Arkansans for Compassionate Care   got 117K signatures and Issue 7 onto the ballot. Melissa takes us through her introduction to David Couch. As his Issue 6 passed this year, she’s interested in helping it be as strong as it can be. David Couch then joins us to take us through Issue 6. He begins by sharing that Melissa helped educate him on medical cannabis and goes on to explain the reasoning behind his difference in thinking in launching Issue 6 as a constitutional amendment and his desire to work with Issue 7 folks moving forward

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Arkansas cannabis. We dive into how medical came to pass in the state. Melissa faults first joins us to discuss her focused on protecting medical marijuana patients in Arkansas. She explains that in 2012, the initiative narrowly missed passing for 2016 Arkansans for compassionate care. Got a 117,000 signatures in issue seven onto the ballot list. It takes us through a brief introduction to David couch as his issue six passed this year. She's interested in helping it be as strong as it can be. David couch then joins us to take us through issue six. He begins by sharing that Melissa helped educate him on medical cannabis and goes onto explain the reasoning behind his difference in thinking in launching issue six. As a constitutional amendment walk into cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy Melissa faults. David couch. That's southern breakfast biscuits and gravy. That is fantastic.

Speaker 4: Yeah.

Speaker 1: Little bit of sausage. What will kind of sausage,

Speaker 4: um, instant sausage because I was,

Speaker 1: you gotta go you gotta get you gotTa. Get going and then biscuits and gravy. So you made the biscuits and gravy is what we're saying. Alright. So Melissa, uh, you know, I called you because a, I wanted to congratulate you on the wind and the wind and then you, you corrected me right away. So a welcome and thank you for giving us a few minutes. Um, why don't you just go ahead and, and get to it. What happened in Arkansas

Speaker 4: a? Well, as you know, our gems for compassionate care has worked for the last five years to get medical cannabis passed in the state. Um, we are a very grassroots organization. Uh, we have about 1600 volunteers that actively worked to get signatures for the ballot to get on the ballot a to pass medical cannabis. We had an extremely strong initiative that would pretend patients, um, to the best of our ability. We had an affordability cards. Uh, we had quite a few more qualifying conditions. We had a maximum on patient license, everything that would protect a patient, um, five years ago, four years ago, at the very end of 2012, our lawyer who was trying to get another initiative on the ballot and they fail, they get enough signatures came to me. And so as you're working with medical cannabis standard, like fun, he'd like to help.

Speaker 4: So we reading a get involved right at the end of the campaign. It was in August when the election was in November. We, given that we only missed by one point seven, five percent, he was convinced it was because we had to grow your own label. Condensed and still to this day are sundance that we just didn't do enough educating of our cans. And so we spent the next um, four years educating arkansans and trying to get medical candidates on the ballot. We started with this initiative in September of 2014 to gather enough signatures. And when I say grass, which we raised a total of $170,000 in two years, we managed to gather and 117,000 signatures. We managed to get on the ballot and we managed to educate people, and according to a very ingrown toe, we wouldn't have one guy around 68 percent. The couch who was the attorney that got involved with this, got her wrapped with the same guys that were finding the Ohio initiative next day old and that approximately $2,000,000 to buy their way on the ballot to autos autism ballot. Um, they spent quite a bit of money to guarantee we will be turning off the balance, which we were. It was very unheard as I'm rounding had actually already been done. We had four days of people voting on our initiatives before the supreme court threw it off.

Speaker 4: They actually had had a special master and only one percent of the time did I ever not go about that. The special master says, um, unless their shows, you know, much much while I'm daring, which they get it. Um, and that one percent here it is, they wanted us to be the sacrificial lamb. We were told that some of the legislators wanted issue six to pass because they got more tax money. It really wasn't about the patient, so we worst one off about that. I think I had been educated in that where they knew that it was time to get medical cannabis passed. So the only initiative was a, is she sixth and it did pass by I think 50 percent, but when we were able to get the vote from one county. Okay. Uh, on issue seven and in the days we were on the ballot, we only got 800 less than issue seven did in the 12 days they were on the ballot.

Speaker 1: Arkansas cannabis. We dive into how medical came to pass in the state. Melissa faults first joins us to discuss her focused on protecting medical marijuana patients in Arkansas. She explains that in 2012, the initiative narrowly missed passing for 2016 Arkansans for compassionate care. Got a 117,000 signatures in issue seven onto the ballot list. It takes us through a brief introduction to David couch as his issue six passed this year. She's interested in helping it be as strong as it can be. David couch then joins us to take us through issue six. He begins by sharing that Melissa helped educate him on medical cannabis and goes onto explain the reasoning behind his difference in thinking in launching issue six. As a constitutional amendment walk into cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy Melissa faults. David couch. That's southern breakfast biscuits and gravy. That is fantastic.

Speaker 4: Yeah.

Speaker 1: Little bit of sausage. What will kind of sausage,

Speaker 4: um, instant sausage because I was,

Speaker 1: you gotta go you gotta get you gotTa. Get going and then biscuits and gravy. So you made the biscuits and gravy is what we're saying. Alright. So Melissa, uh, you know, I called you because a, I wanted to congratulate you on the wind and the wind and then you, you corrected me right away. So a welcome and thank you for giving us a few minutes. Um, why don't you just go ahead and, and get to it. What happened in Arkansas

Speaker 4: a? Well, as you know, our gems for compassionate care has worked for the last five years to get medical cannabis passed in the state. Um, we are a very grassroots organization. Uh, we have about 1600 volunteers that actively worked to get signatures for the ballot to get on the ballot a to pass medical cannabis. We had an extremely strong initiative that would pretend patients, um, to the best of our ability. We had an affordability cards. Uh, we had quite a few more qualifying conditions. We had a maximum on patient license, everything that would protect a patient, um, five years ago, four years ago, at the very end of 2012, our lawyer who was trying to get another initiative on the ballot and they fail, they get enough signatures came to me. And so as you're working with medical cannabis standard, like fun, he'd like to help.

Speaker 4: So we reading a get involved right at the end of the campaign. It was in August when the election was in November. We, given that we only missed by one point seven, five percent, he was convinced it was because we had to grow your own label. Condensed and still to this day are sundance that we just didn't do enough educating of our cans. And so we spent the next um, four years educating arkansans and trying to get medical candidates on the ballot. We started with this initiative in September of 2014 to gather enough signatures. And when I say grass, which we raised a total of $170,000 in two years, we managed to gather and 117,000 signatures. We managed to get on the ballot and we managed to educate people, and according to a very ingrown toe, we wouldn't have one guy around 68 percent. The couch who was the attorney that got involved with this, got her wrapped with the same guys that were finding the Ohio initiative next day old and that approximately $2,000,000 to buy their way on the ballot to autos autism ballot. Um, they spent quite a bit of money to guarantee we will be turning off the balance, which we were. It was very unheard as I'm rounding had actually already been done. We had four days of people voting on our initiatives before the supreme court threw it off.

Speaker 4: They actually had had a special master and only one percent of the time did I ever not go about that. The special master says, um, unless their shows, you know, much much while I'm daring, which they get it. Um, and that one percent here it is, they wanted us to be the sacrificial lamb. We were told that some of the legislators wanted issue six to pass because they got more tax money. It really wasn't about the patient, so we worst one off about that. I think I had been educated in that where they knew that it was time to get medical cannabis passed. So the only initiative was a, is she sixth and it did pass by I think 50 percent, but when we were able to get the vote from one county. Okay. Uh, on issue seven and in the days we were on the ballot, we only got 800 less than issue seven did in the 12 days they were on the ballot.

Speaker 4: Unbelievable. Wow. Uh, yeah, if it was, you know, people wanted seven because it was very patient friendly and it was very protective of the patients that we do have issues six and we are going to try to work with some legislators that, uh, supported issue seven and try to get more qualifying condition. The affordability clogs that we'd had in seven, a maximum on patient licensed that we had in seven a and basically try to get as much as seven put into law as we possibly can. Excellent. Well, I appreciate the fact that you're not just going to give up, you know, you're going to keep. I really don't know. That word has never been in our vocabulary. What's your background? You said you've been working on this for a number of years. What's your background? Actually, I am a 61 year old dairy goat farmer. Okay. How do you, how does dairy goat farmer find

Speaker 5: cannabis as medicine?

Speaker 4: He was. The doctors told him he had less than two years to live, more than likely. And one of his doctors told him if he would use cannabis as live. And so we began, this was, um, a little over five years ago and we began working to try to change the law so that he would not be breaking the law and the oldest to live and um, it went from a very selfish, trying to save her son to a statewide campaign and meeting patient after patient after patient and realizing that it was something we couldn't give up on something that we had distinct threatened. And you know, we still have long way to go. We still got to make sure patients are protected because I cannot walk away with an initiative that only protects the business owners have to protect our patients.

Speaker 5: Yeah, of course. Of course. Uh, forgive me for asking a few questions about your son. What, what condition?

Speaker 4: I actually had been on prescribed opiates for 14 years, a car accident. It had eaten the lining of his stomach. They tell him that at that time he was 28, they coding back, lift the seat 30, but very unlikely with live test as a coating. This systemic would rupture and would bleed out before he made it to the emergency room. And he bombed to lead every day. Um, they had him on so much medicine that they had him on opiates. They had him on muscle relaxers. They had him on antidepressants, don't make Madison. They had in mind bag him. Unbelievable the medication they had in mind. When people look at the list of medication, most people, if they will take one day, if his prescription in one day would be dead. So they had basically destroyed his life. Now he's in college studying to be a doctor, takes the most incredible father he will ever me, healthier than it's probably ever been in his life. He will never take another opiate. Um, he's an amazing young man and, and I can say cannabis for saving his life.

Speaker 5: Well, there you have it. Um, you know, you are on a long, long list of folks that uh, you know, that share your experience as, as far as you know, you. If folks are hearing, you know, you hear and want to support you, uh, you know, working with the folks there is, is ar compassion.com still active and alive? Is that how folks can get,

Speaker 4: that's a lie. And we are still asking for donations because we all work in the legislature. We are trying to work with the health department. We are trying to get laws changed and we will either go with the legislature all, we'll have to do another ballot initiative. So yes, we are still very, very active. We still have 1600 volunteers that are currently working, trying to educate Arkansas eyes to the fact that we have to add these things to issue six in order to truly protect patients. And that's, you know, that that is one thing that I did. ACC was all about, it was never about making money. It was never about people getting dispensary's in getting rich. It has always been and always will be to make sure patients are protected and to make sure that, uh, the, that it is legal and that it is accessible, it is affordable and that no patient gets left behind.

Speaker 5: I think that you're a ticking off a number of boxes that, uh, a lot of folks listening to to you agree with. So, uh, ar compassion.com, that's where you can find Melissa. Melissa, I really appreciate the work that you've done over the past few years. I appreciate the fact that you don't know what giving up his right.

Speaker 4: Well, we went down and, and that's, you know, we're kind of taking the two weeks off to catch up brands, but we actually have appointments with several legislators over the next three or four weeks and we're taking a proposal on the changes that they can make without, uh, you know, with the two thirds rather than having to do a constitutional amendment. So there are things that they can change very easily with the to protect the patients to make it more like issue seven. So we're very helpful with that. If we don't get anywhere with that, uh, after session, uh, after January, if we don't get anywhere with that, that still gives us plenty of time to widen initiative and get the signatures, get it on the ballot and exchanges passed through the ballot initiative process.

Speaker 5: There you go, Melissa, faults, you know, Arkansas medical cannabis are Kansas for compassionate care. Is that about right?

Speaker 4: That is right.

Speaker 5: Thank you so much for your time and uh, I'm sure you'll see some support, uh, hit the, hit the website soon. How about that?

Speaker 4: Thank you so much. I appreciate you.

Speaker 5: This episode is supported by Eden Labs.

Speaker 1: Even labs is the fastest, highest yielding botanical extraction, a distillation on earth. COAC braddock says that our health depends on what we consume, how it's prepared for our consumption and the environment. Eaton is a modern, ethno botanical based company that continually innovates efficient systems for the highest purity and quality products. The company was founded from an intense curiosity on the effects of botanicals on human health and wellbeing. The focus since 1994 has been on pure medicinal or nutritional extracts. Visiting labs.com for more detail.

Speaker 6: Well, I had that idea of the vending machine.

Speaker 5: Yeah. Well, you know, you gotta get what you can get, but a Whoa, whoa. That's not too healthy friend.

Speaker 7: Right.

Speaker 5: All right, so David couch issue six in Arkansas. It passed. Congratulations. Congratulations on the room

Speaker 7: and it would have passed by a lot more if we, if we had a few more breaks,

Speaker 5: a few more breaks. All right, well let. Let's kind of. I'm just a go all the way back and, and understand your relationship with cannabis, you know.

Speaker 7: Sure. In 2012 was my first, I guess, experience with medical cannabis, medical marijuana, uh, I was, uh, Sarky lighting a, a campaign finance reform petition to try to get it on the ballot in Iran into Melissa faults and her husband, Gary and their group is called our Kansas for compassionate care and in 2012 that were circulating a petition to get, uh, an initiated act on the ballot. And we got it on the ballot in 2012. I didn't get my campaign finance uncles, we didn't collect enough signatures. We started light. And so that was my first experience, you know, when I first met them, you know, I was collecting signatures, like I say, on the other initiative. And I really knew nothing about medical cannabis or cannabis at all. I mean, I grew up in the seventies in Arkansas, in the rural part of the state, in a very rule, a conservative religious church.

Speaker 7: Uh, and so I thought, well, these people are here, all they're doing is trying to, you know, get some thoughts so they can all go around smoke and get high. You know, there was, you know, Nancy Reagan, you know, this is your brain on drugs Friday, uh, but, but I locked them in. Melissa and Gary are very nice people and in one of their sons had a great story with it, so, you know, and I started talking to them and meeting their canvassers and Matan people, they're interested in it and I thought, you know, this is not exactly what I thought is this is, this is really, you know, helps people in. And so when we got it on the ballot, um, you know, the, it was opposed at that time by the family council primaries, a religious based organization here in state of Arkansas and they got churches all throughout the state that are involved in.

Speaker 7: And that was a really our primary opponent, uh, in 2012. All the polls said we had no chance whatsoever. We were polling it like 38 percent to 40 percent. And, uh, so I thought, well, you know, that's probably going to be about right. But we, we had a debate. So me and the people that represented the churches, we would go out in the communities to talk to churches and community centers about this, to have debates and after, you know, you'd have a debate in the church in Arkansas and like other southern states, you know, you all get together afterwards in the fellowship hall and you have like coffee or coke and some cookies and donuts and stuff like that. And people would come up to me afterwards and whisper in my ear, you know, what, can't say anything but I'm for you because my grandmother has cancer and we buy or weed or you know, my, my uncle was in the army and he has ptsd and he smokes weed.

Speaker 7: Or I'd have, you know, I have one example where a sheriff came up to me and said, look, you know, my best friend, his was dying and I went to the evidence locker and got him some weight and took it to him to smoke because you know, he's dying of cancer. What's it going to heart? And so I knew there was this undercurrent of people in Arkansas that really understood that this really helped people that were sick and that it needed to be done. And so, um, we kept campaign, we didn't have a whole lot of money in 2012, that's when Colorado was being legalized for recreational marijuana policy project was the funder in 2012. They gave us some money to help collect signatures and then they came in late and gave us about $400,000 to run some TV ads in Arkansas. So we ran a few ads in Arkansas and you know, on election day we got 49 percent of the vote in 2012.

Speaker 7: We were this close and you know, if we had gotten our money sooner to run our ads sooner, we would've won in 2012 because we lost during the early voting by 50,000 votes. And on election day in 2012, we actually won by 20,000 votes. So we were a, a net loss of 30,000 votes in 2012. And so, um, it was that close, so at that point in time I'm like, we're going to get this done one way or another. And so we didn't know if we were ever going to get any additional funding from any source, you know, because we're at, you know, a southern state red state. People don't think that this was going to pass in Arkansas or never would pass an Arkansas even though we got close then, you know, it was just, Oh y'all just got lucky or something. They were paying attention to you.

Speaker 7: And so we, we did some polls or some organizations in Arkansas did polling after 2012 and in 2012 it had a provision in there that allow people to grow your own medical marijuana at home if you lived a certain miles from the dispensary I think was five miles from a dispensary in 2012. And that was one of the biggest things that people talk about during the campaign. And. And so the pose position, yeah, the opposition talked about it and there are a bunch of other little minor issues as well. But so in 2012 after the election polls were conducted, um, and it's really kind of funny. Uh, they couldn't find, but about 38 percent of the people have actually said they voted for it. It's kind of like that Bradley effect, you know, I'm not gonna tell anybody on the phone, I don't know that I voted for marijuana and Arkansas, but they did. It's Kinda like I'm old enough to remember. Nobody ever voted for Bill Clinton as governor of Arkansas. But he wants 60 percent of the vote every so.

Speaker 5: And that just happened again in our presidential election as well.

Speaker 7: No, but everybody admitted they voted for Mike Huckabee. But you know, that was a different story. You know, Arkansas, we're kind of a strange state. You know, how it got marijuana. You know, we have Bill Clinton followed by Mike Huckabee, governor, if they know there's the opposites.

Speaker 5: Well, I mean, you so goes Arkansas. So goes the nation. Obama followed by trump. Those are two different people completely.

Speaker 7: There's no kid and I'm telling you. So we polled it and the people indicated that if you took that grow your own provision out, we were getting, you know, 55 to 60 percent of the vote in 2012.

Speaker 5: Why, how come you think, you know, yes, opposition. But now you're talking about just the general populace. What was it that folks were against as far as grow your own? Because you know, almost, you know, most of the measures have grow your own in there, you know,

Speaker 7: I can tell you exactly what it is in Arkansas and it was really the moms that was the big segment. It really hard. So you know, the measure provided and even the ones that eventually passed, provided that the patient can get two and a half ounces of marijuana every 14 days. And so like provided that you could grow five plants, find mature plants at home and you get to keep all of it. And so all of a sudden if you did the math, you know, the plants were producing a lot more marijuana than you could actually get through a dispensary. And so the issue became diversion. You know, do you trust somebody live in 25 miles out in the boondocks to dispose of any excess marijuana that they may grow over and above the amount that they can get through them? A dispensary. So it really became a diversion and teens, uh, getting into the wrong hands, you know,

Speaker 5: black market through grow your own.

Speaker 7: Exactly. And that, that was really, that was really the big concern. That is still, that was the concern up until, you know, cause issue seven until it was taken off the ballot. That was still the biggest concern that people have, say of RSL had is like, if you're going to treat this is medicine, we're not, we, we will support it. As long as you treat it like medicine. You don't make your own Oxycontin, you don't make your own Ambien, you don't. I mean you don't, you don't do that at home. I mean I totally understand it. I support grow your own, but you know, you have to get this passed and yet, you know, prepare your product or your initiative, package it so that the people are going to support it. And so that was kind of what we did. So after we lost in 2012, those polls showed that, you know, we pretty much a, it wouldn't pass with the grow your own, own it, and even this time around, since seven had the grow your own and it would continue to pull it in. And seven issue seven that had the grow your own and some other issues as well. Uh, it never really got above 46, 47 percent cap out. Right? That which I will tell you this, we would poll recreational use in the polls as well. And it pulled right at 46 to 47 percent. So yeah. So, uh, issue seven was pretty much a cost. The way it was drafted was seeing the same as a recreational marijuana legalization. Yeah.

Speaker 5: That's how people viewed it. Well, let's dive in here because you, you issue seven, we spoke to Melissa faults. I shared that with you, you know, as far as, um, the difference between the two bills there, you know, um, well I shouldn't call them bills. The difference between the, the, the two initiatives. One is, um, uh, is the grow your own you, we just talked about that. Another is a difference between some of the qualifying conditions which we can get to or not get to, but the major thing that I noticed was the fact that they were doing it as a, uh, issue. Someone was doing it as a, an amendment which worked really well in, uh, in Colorado as opposed to an initiative which hasn't worked so well in Washington. So I wanted to get your sense of, you know, the two approaches.

Speaker 7: Well, mine was the constitutional amendment.

Speaker 5: Oh, yours was the amendment. Did I get that wrong? I got that backwards.

Speaker 7: Yeah, you got it backwards. Six was a constitutional amendment because, you know, we have a conservative Republican general assembly. In fact, 75 percent of them are Republicans. And so, you know, drafting it, I had to collect a lot more signature. So issue six is a constitutional amendment. So, uh, so it's in, it's in there and you know, and I gave them the fact that marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes and in fact if there's a certain number of dispensaries in the state of Arkansas that they can't change, uh, that stuck in our constitution now, all of the, a lot of the regulatory aspects of it that they, that they taxation and stuff like that, I gave them the ability to change that with a two thirds vote, which is the same as initiated amendment, so anticipating, you know, the, the campaign and the and stuff like that. I wanted to legalize marijuana and do it where they couldn't not legalize it, but then not wanting to give them the flexibility to address the programs and the policy issues that wouldn't have to be addressed once it was in fact legalized. So that six was a constitutional amendment seven was initiated and initiated under Arkansas could be changed by two thirds of a vote. So even if seven had passed in its form, it would have been gutted.

Speaker 5: So maybe even not passed.

Speaker 7: Well, yeah, I don't, I don't think it would ever. It never got about 46, 47 percent of our Po's and they don't.

Speaker 5: No, I mean once, once it gets to the legislature.

Speaker 7: Oh yeah. Once it got to the legislature, they would have made. They could have totally made it nothing but as cbd bill. And that's probably what they were going to do because during the campaign they hung that little carrot out over people's heads. Like, oh no, no, you don't need to do this. We just need to get cbd bills because that's the address. These little children that have seizures because you know, we ran a campaign ads with those little kids that had seizures and showing how that really helped them out. So they took that bite and when, after that,

Speaker 5: when you say they took that Bait,

Speaker 7: the opposition this time around. Yeah. You go here. We'll dealt with a bunny story here about how that worked out with seven and when seven was taken off the ballot, how, you know, they had really loaded up voted and campaigned against all the issues that were in salmon and when seven went down, I liked what y'all, y'all been complaining about those three things that are in seven where you got to say about me and I mean they were just like silent. They didn't, it had, they had no response

Speaker 5: because you had guarded against it based on polling, based on your understanding of what was going.

Speaker 7: Yeah. And, and, and the, the three things that the governor of Arkansas campaigned against what was seven and it, it'll segue into what we want to talk about here in a minute. Was one the grow your own right to, they called it an affordability clause, but what it did is it took the tax money off of a medical marijuana and put it in an account and they could use that money to subsidize costs for a low income patients, which is a good idea. Uh, but the governors, well that's just tax payer funding of medical marijuana for people, which was a bad thing. It didn't go very well for them.

Speaker 5: So as far as the way that politics work in Arkansas, even though you and I can see that as a positive and benefiting people need it, it's marijuana, so that's negative. And so we can't be doing tax giveaways with marijuana

Speaker 7: tax, tax payer, vendor, taxpayer funding of marijuana. I mean it was just like, oh we can't have that, you know. And then the third thing that they taste on the political climate there. Yeah. And then the third thing that they talked about, and this goes back to your question that you just asked was Melissa in them listed like 50 something conditions in their amendment. And so like, including restless legs syndrome, I can't tell you how many times I heard restless leg syndrome and you know, and so anytime you know, the TV would be on or debate, we, you know, they would get into the debate about restless leg syndrome and it just didn't play very well in Arkansas. But to get back to the, your specific question about the number of conditions, I believe that now that the campaign is over with, uh, that issue six covers more conditions than issue seven does.

Speaker 7: It's just the way I crafted it. So what issue six did is they listed like 50 something conditions that were covered and what I did in [inaudible] six because I, this was the same argument that we had in 2012, any during 2012 during that campaign, anytime the family council or somebody made a criticism that I thought bothered it but didn't affect medical marijuana and its passage, I changed it. And so the conditions were kind of an issue in 2012. So what I did is I listed 12 specific conditions that you could get medical marijuana for. And then I listed six general conditions. And in it's slot you can get seizures lockup. So epilepsy, it didn't say half to be epilepsy. You have muscles spasms, lack, it'll mess. You have peripheral neuropathy, you have a chronic pain, chronic pain, chronic pain, you have, um,

Speaker 5: ptsd. I'm guessing the

Speaker 7: ptsd was one of the 12 enumerated, so I had five general conditions. You have catchier wasting hunger, so if you have any disease that you get in any disease that causes seizures and a disease that causes muscle spasms, any diseases that causes hunger and disease that caused chronic pain, you're in. So you know, like the little kids that have seizures, there's probably 30 different types of diseases that caused the seizure activity. So what Melissa and them trying to do is they tried to list every one of them and so they got beat in the campaign because it's like, oh my God, you got 50 conditions out here. Mind you have 12 specific, but you have six, what I call general conditions. So the physician comes in here, you have chronic pain, you have, you know you have a seizures, you have muscle spasms, you have peripheral neuropathy, you have hunger. I don't give a crap what the disease is called, what, what weird guy founded this name. You're covered, right? So to me, six covers more conditions than seven does. It's just how you were packaging it to sell it to the electorate and in, and so I think we, I packaged it better and it did sell and in and we did good. So I think six is going to cover more conditions than seven ever dreamt of.

Speaker 5: Got It. And did mention just moving on to the regulatory kind of framework, you mentioned that you, you're leaving it open for legislators to really kind of have ownership. Those are my words, not yours. Um, what, uh, where are the lines in the sand though? Are there, is, is there any limit to the number of licenses? If so, how many and why? Etc. Etc.

Speaker 7: Oh, wE did it this way. So if you look at the economics of it in Arkansas, I, I will anticipate that they're going to be approximately 40,000 patients. So, and part of the amendment that they cannot change a, there is a minimum of 20 dispensary's and a maximum of 40 because I wanted to keep my market competitive. Um, and sO they have to be in that range. Uh, there can be no more than four in any one county. No more than one person can own one. The lessons that he has to be from Arkansas, then there are for a minimum of four and a minimum of eight cultivation facilities, dispensaries or be able to grow. I'm up to 50 plants a pace and the cultivation facilities basically is, is unlimited. Uh, and the reason I wanted to give the dispensary's the ability to grow is because uh, you know, under seven you had to take your card and register with a specific dispensary in that dispenser was able to grow marijuana for you.

Speaker 7: I thought that waS a horrible way to do that. Talk about a way to like take advantage of somebody. So what I set up is with the department of health, there is a database, you get your marijuana card and you can purchase marijuana from any of the 40 dispensary's that exists and say of Arkansas and your name has just entered into that database to make sure you can't get more than what you're prescribed. So I wanted to give the dispensary is a way to differentiate themselves from each other. So I gave them the blt to grow 50 plants. But I kinda, I saw them, you know, we're talking medical but think ahead to something else. Uh, I saw that is a way to maybe treat them like a craft brewery, you know, so each of the dispensary can have their specific strains. So, um, so we're in Arkansas, let's say though, you're goIng to have the razorback red strain and then over in the other side of the state is Arkansas state university in there, the howlIng wolf, so you have a howling wolf strain, so you know, you can go anywhere you want, if you have a strain that it helps with your particular condition, then you can go to one of those dispensary's and get it.

Speaker 7: And then I would anticipate that the cultivation facilities are going to grow, you know, you're, you're more popular. The bigger strides that are going to be mass produced stuff. And then I gave the dispensary's the ability to trade among themselves outside of the cultivation facilities and so and so the cultivators can sell to any of the dispensary. So I set up a market system that I think will really help keep the process down.

Speaker 5: Good. I appreciate that, I appreciate, there's a lot of thinking that went into it. I also appreciate the minimums. Why the cap on the maximum wife? Why cap out of 40?

Speaker 7: Uh, it, it goes back to 2012 and first of all, you got to look at the, the maximum you want to keep the market balanced. Uh, and so the reason I kept it out at 40 is because if we've got 40,000 patients, you know, that's probably about the maximum number you could have anyhow, but in 2012, one of the problems that we call brought up during the election was like, oh, you're going to be like Colorado, you're going to have a dispensary on every corner like starbucks, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, you know, I tried to set it up where, you know, you would have that range where you make sure that it was competitive, but it wasn't going to be a monopoly. Uh, they would really hurt the market. So I think that, that we've done that.

Speaker 5: And you talked about lessons learned from the past. You know, when we spoke before we started recording, uh, the folks from the Ohio initiative that didn't pass, um, were involved in, in this initiative, one of the red flags for, you know, the movement type folks are, and even the industry type folks was the, the, uh, the perceived monopoly that was being where oligarchies that was trying to be set up there. Talk us through what the learnings were from those parts.

Speaker 7: One of the individual you're talking about is shiny pruitt. Hasan arkansan good. Uh, and so, um, he came to me because, you know, I was, we were doing the, uh, it was before I got a issue six completely drafted. So he called me and he's like, you know, I've got this going on in Ohio and you know, I'm in Arkansas and you know, he is, was, will tell you this if you talked to him in 2012, you know, he was a conservative. He's a republican. And he, like, I did in 2012 thought, well, this just white some people to get in pot, uh, to sit around and smoke. And then he got involved up in Ohio and he became enamored with the issue like I did. So the first time chaney, now I met matt, he told me about his initiative in Ohio. So I went and looked at and I said, well, you're going to lose.

Speaker 7: He said, well, why am I going to lose and say, well, well first of all, it's a midterm election and you're not going to have the turnout that you need and second of all you set up a monopoly in and nobody's going to give you a monopoly because some of the other initiative workup then in Arkansas dealt with trying to get some casinos legalized. And, and when I did that, um, it, it did set up monopolies for some people and when we just got hammered over the head with it and I'm like, nope, everybody, matt, but before you. But they're not going to give you a monopoly. And, and you're in a midterm and these things just do not do well in the midterm, is to use without the presidential turning out. You're not going to do well. He said, I wish I had talked to you beforehand.

Speaker 5: Why? And I'd love to talk to him. Maybe we can set that up afterwards, but he's a good. Yeah. And when you say I wish I would've talked to you beforehand, you know, what, what were the learnings that he got in terms of, you know, you just can't set it up that way, type of thing.

Speaker 7: That pretty much you just can't set it up, you know, and you know, and, and that's, you know, I was never going to set it up that way in Arkansas and you know, and, and so when he came to me and offered to help me in Arkansas, I mean, never. Did they ask that we set it up that way in Arkansas, you know, he was like, this is my state. I spent a whole lot more money in Ohio than I can ever spend in Arkansas with us. We're just a little smaller state. You don't need to do it though. It was like we're doing the right thing for our state. And he just like me just became enamored with the, the issue as well. Now, not that he won't try to get in the business now I'm sure he will, but he's got. No, it's a open, fair and transparent system. I set it up in Arkansas that way because I've my ethics thing that I didn't get on 2012. I got the general assembly to refer as a constitutional amendment and it passed in 2014 and so that's how I use some of the stuff in that to, to help set up the regulatory system in issue six.

Speaker 5: Well, what are you talking about? Let's just make sure that we covered that. What do you mean?

Speaker 7: Sure. Well, for example, we'll go back to 2012. Everything regulatory wise was set up with the department of health and our then governor at the time who was a democrat, you know, came out with this study saying, oh, it's going to cost so much money for the department of health to regulate this. They don't want to regulate this. And that hurt our campaign as well in 2012. So this time around what I did, looking ahead to the future, if you look at states where marijuana is legal for recreational use, it's pretty much governed by the alcohol control board. So in Arkansas, since net might be possibility in the future, uh, so when I crafted this amendment, I kept that in mind, that regulatory structure in mind, so this time around as far as the regulations with respect to the dispensary and the cultivation facilities, I'll put that in the alcohol beverage control board.

Speaker 7: So, you know, mike ensure that, that the facilities are secure, making sure that the inventory is controlled. I mean it looks just like a liquor store. So I called them the, the marijuana police, uh, but with respect to the patient aspects of the proposal, I left that in the department of health. So the, the, the ability to add additional conditions in the future. Um, they uh, monitoring of the dispensing and the issuing of the medical marijuana card sits with the department of health. So I split that regulatory structure up and then I knew there was going to be this tremendous demand for dispensary licenses in cultivation facility licenses and I didn't want it to do like we do our liquor stores in Arkansas where they just throw a number in the hat and pull it out. So, um, we, uh, I gave the president pro tem of our senate and the speaker of our general assembly house two appointments and I gave the governor who's actually hudson what appointment and we set up a medical marijuana commission and all that commission does is decide what is the exact framework of application process going to be and is going to award those last senses.

Speaker 7: And so that's going to be a citizens' commission. So. And I set it Up where it will be hopefully a fair open and transparent system so that, you know, these just won't be handed out to somebody, buddies and stuff. And so that everybody in the state of Arkansas, we'll have at least an equal opportunity to apply and to be considered for one of these applicants.

Speaker 5: Awesome. You mentioned ethics along with this thinking, you know, you're learning from your work with ethics, w, w, what were you speaking of?

Speaker 7: Yeah. And the ethics and one of the things that we did in the ethics proposal is we set Up a citizens' commission and uh, and the reason we did that was that a prior to 2014, the members of our general consent were considered part time, although they're really full time and they were making $13,000 a year. So they had to go out here and you know, rob peter to pay paul to make a living. And so they needed a raise. But there was no way in the world that a member of the general assembly could ever vote himself raise. So in the ethics proposal where we eliminated corporate campaign contributions and lobbying expenses, we set up the citizens' commission to give the members of the general assembly arise and it, it worked well and it gave him a raise and it gave them a reasonable raise in. We cut out a lot of that graph, hidden money and politics and so that since that commission worked well, I thought, well, maybe, hopefully the marijuana commission will work equally as well.

Speaker 5: There we go. Yeah. You bring up money as far as tax revenue is concerned. How much do you have in there on where tax revenue goes into education, et cetera.

Speaker 7: Sure, exactly. You kNow, if you look at Arkansas, the proposed patient base and in the proposed revenue per patient, I think that in Arkansas, this is going to be about $100, million dollars gross sales per year when it's implemented medically. And so, uh, we don't tax medicine in Arkansas. I hated that we had to put a tax on this at all, but I left it at the general sales tax, right? Which is about eight percent. so it's going to generate probably about $8,000,000 in sales tax revenue for Arkansas. I anticipate that it'll cost about $2,000,000 to run the program. So there's going to be $6,000,000 in sales tax, revenue. First part of that, I dedicated it to those three agencies to cover their expenses, the cost, again, looking back to 2012, that was one of the things that hardest was that all it's going to cost the government this way.

Speaker 7: So This time, because I specifically provided for it in the agreement in the amendment, uh, is revenue neutral. so like, well, this is revenue neutral. Not only is it revenue neutral, you're going to generate an additional, you know, $6,000,000 to the state of Arkansas. So I put 30 percent of that into the general revenues just so that the people in the general assembly could, like, you know, they're like little birds sitting in a nasty. Well, it could be fed money. And then I put a, uh, about half of it and um, workforce, what I call workforce education are both technical institutes, uh, in, you know, in Arkansas, you know, we have good universities, but we have a lot of people that don't have jobs. They don't have job training. So both technical institutes give people, you know, like computer science degrees or certificAtes or auto mechanics or welding.

Speaker 7: And stuff like that. So I'll put it in those little programs like that and the biggest boat technical institute in Arkansas and they'll do the best is that, you know, when our prison population is scheduled to get out, paroled or released, you know, there is a boat technical institute called riverside in Arkansas and what that does is, so hopefully they'll use this money to, to train people who are going to be coming out of prison with a skill so that when they're dumped on the street they can at least have an opportunity to find a job because they'll have a skill. So that was the fun thing that I put it in there and it didn't even come up at all during the election at all, other than isn't going to be revenue neutral.

Speaker 5: Got it. And what was the third? If I'm doing the math, I think you might have 20 percent left

Speaker 7: that went to cover the costs of the programs.

Speaker 5: Okay. So the [inaudible] $8,000,000 in revenue. Then you said 2 million, um, is gonna pay for it first 30 percent goes back to the departments?

Speaker 7: Well no, actually it goes, there's about 10 percent that goes to, to the, to the part where 20 percent of the go to department, 30 percent to the digital revenues and half to the technical institutes and I, and this is something that general assembly can change as well because if they need to tweak the numbers, you know, to, to cover more of the cost of the programs then that, then I can do that.

Speaker 5: I gotcha. But you're, you're well you're well above. Yeah. You're well above and you're giving it really back to the folks that are running the programs themselves and then the rest of it is going to, you know, folks coming out and trying to get new jobs. So there is a job title push. Fair enough.

Speaker 7: Maybe. Maybe they spoke. Technical institutes will start having a cannabis training program. We go, here we go. I got to get your a bud tender certificate.

Speaker 5: That's it. I know a bunch of cannabis trainers who will be calling you as soon as they hear this unit.

Speaker 7: It's a wide open market. Let me tell you, my phone has not stopped ringing since november the eighth.

Speaker 5: Whoa. What kind of folks are calling, you know, besides me.

Speaker 7: Oh man. I will tell you, there's been an overwhelming number of people that call about interested in like, how do I get a license to operate a dispensary? How do I get a license to operate a cultivation facility? And you know, we just talked about the sales tax revenues, but the economic impact of this on the state of Arkansas is going to be tremendous. I mean, it's probably going to create a thousand new jobs, which is a lot for our state. Um, and the, the people that have called me, I mean, there are people that call me that do inventories in dispensary's, uh, they sell insurance, lighting, soil testing. I mean, the collateral businesses and people have called me to like, how do I get involved in this or how do I get, find out who these people are. There's been hundreds of dIfferent people have called me from Oregon to New Mexico to Colorado that have all of these different sort of, uh, companies that service dispensary's that, that, that want to come and get involved. And it's not like, please come on.

Speaker 5: There you go. It's going to be huge. It is, it is. It is a. So you've done a big thing here. Let's just make sure we understand you. You mentioned that the 2012 work that you've done, you mentioned that you're a, a lawyer and a cannabis loves lawyers. That's my little a quote that I like to say. Um, you know, you mentioned how you got into this, you're from Arkansas. You say, you mentioned you're a born bred arkansan, right? Growing up in that a conservative church. I grew up in the delta man. So what was it like? Give, give, give, give us a sense

Speaker 7: man, you know, we pulled this issue and, and if, if you believe the polls, we were going to win. I mean, you pull the generic question in Arkansas, do you support medical marijuana? You know, sometimes you'd get 80 percent, 70 percent, but you are generally hit right around 70 percent and people that self identified as a conservative democrat or an independent and moderate republican, statistically you could not tell those people apart on this issue. So I figured I was going to win, you know, there was that confusion with regard to issue seven in and when it was taken off by the supreme court and, and you know, issue seven was telling people only to vote for seven and not vote for six. So I was concerned about, you know, how that might affect us, but you know, looking at all the polling and the polling numbers, you know, I pretty much knew we were gonna win and, but sitting there and watching the results unfold on television, it was like we were almost like numb. I'm like, I cannot believe we did this.

Speaker 5: no, neither can we.

Speaker 7: But then anybody in respect, it's like a, you know, I knew we were going to do it. I knew what the message was. That's what sale in a southern state, you know. And, and you know, that was why I had such disagreements with seven and rob kampia from the marijuana policy project, he was supporting seven and I mean they did everything in the world to try to keep us off the ballot and then, you know, it was like, you got to understand that, you know, look at the 25 states that had legalized medical marijuana before Arkansas. They're all blue and you cannot win in Arkansas or any other southern state the same way that you can win in California, Massachusetts. And so this strategy has to be different. And I mean I would just like pull my hair out, trying to tell those people that you can't do it your way and going to win, but you know, they're the quote mean you can't see me, but you can't. They're the experts in this thing. And so we just had to march to our own drum and we did a good job.

Speaker 5: That's what I am hearing and learning from this call. Obviously rob knows what he's doing as far as getting, you know, cannabis past. BUt what you're pointing out as far as the unique political climate of Arkansas versus, you know, folks that have voted on this before, uh, you know, maybe there's a different rule set that's fair.

Speaker 7: You know, I think you could take this issue and in this approach, and you know, Arkansas is good because we have the initiative process and It's very easy if you take this same strategy and you could win probably an of every southern state. I mean, you can, you can't, you know, it's just, you know, you just, you just can't take the, the traditional strategy that they've used in the past. You have to be, you know, adapt. You can't accept the fact that you're going to get everything that you want.

Speaker 5: Well, let's, let's, let's dive in. And I don't mean on policy. I do mean our culture. You know, you said you grew up in the delta. Tell us about growing up in the delta. You know, draw the, these thick lines here so we understand what you're talking about as far as. It's different here.

Speaker 7: So I grew up in the delta. I grew up in a little town. I'm about, it was about 10,000 people. It's about 5,000 now because the delta is really dark times farming community grew up, uh, learn how to drive a tractor, water, ras, uh, you know, we would, uh, uh, you know, you had your, a levee around the town to keep the water and the tornadoes out. You know, you've heard that tim. she's, I think it's jim croce. Took my chevy to the levee.

Speaker 5: Oh yeah, we actually, that's don mclean. Don [inaudible] client. Thank you. It is great to, you know, but he's, he's leroy brown. That's right.

Speaker 7: I mean, who would grow up? I mean we go out and we'd drink whiskey and cherry vodka and beer and set out and swat mosquitoes and stuff, you know, but, and then you know, the, the churches are the center of these little rural communities and stuff and, and you know, and you want, you learn in church. And what I think the way we saw this in Arkansas is that from a southern or a christian perspective, you know, you're supposed to take care of the sick and you know, if this helps sick people, then why do we not do that? And I mean and it, and it sold it work, you know, you still have those people that watched too much, you know, nancy reagan and ronald reagan and elvis getting his gun from Richard Nixon and the war on drugs

Speaker 5: and his badge.

Speaker 7: Yeah. I mean, so, you know, but it, it, that, that same sentiment that prevails in Arkansas prevails in, in every other state. In the south.

Speaker 5: Yeah. No, absolutely. All right. So, uh, as far as getting out of the delta, I mean, how did you, uh, where'd you go to school and you know, how'd you kind of figure out who you are, type of thing?

Speaker 7: Well, I went to school, obviously at the university of Arkansas in fayetteville, became a lawyer and I went to little rock and went to work for a big corporate law firm where I represented utilities and banks and I represented nursing homes. And probably about 15 years ago, uh, I was like, you know what, I'm on the wrong side of the nursing home thing, you know, it's like, you know, you see what goes on in nursing homes. It's like, just can't steal this anymore. I was pounding a square peg in a round hole my whole life of their eating excess. I'm kinda like, not your, not your typical looking lawyer or your typical lawyer. And so in 2000. And I laughed and went out and started my own farm. And, and you know, I've done nursing home work, uh, all over the country. Been to your state several times. Massachusetts, New Jersey that I got last is in New Jersey. And so many cases in New Jersey at one point in time I actually had to get my license there.

Speaker 5: There you go. And what? Just to make it plain what, uh, you know, it give us a sense of, of, uh, you know, a type of a case that you'll take and what the outcome will be. So we understand.

Speaker 7: Sure. Well, you know, um, nursing homes really are, are,

Speaker 7: they're supposed to be nice places, but you know, in the corporate world, um, nursing homes, a lot of them seem to care more about money than there are people and they take, they staff their facilities to the, to the minimum. And so if you don't have enough people in a nursing home to take care of your loved, one bad things happen. They develop pressure sores, they fall, they go hungry, and they have horrible outcomes. So for example, if somebody develops a horrible pressure sore in the nursing home and it gets infected, and that guy, that's the kind of case I'll take and it's not just that, you know, they died, it's like you got to change the system and you've got to to make sure that nursing homes know that, you know, people are more important than profits.

Speaker 5: There we go. Alright, I like ending there because we'll, we'll ask you the three final questions. Um, people are more important than profits. I'm, I'm with you on that. Nope, no question. Uh, I believe in capitalism, but, uh, you know, the true definition of the, uh, of the word meaning, you know, let's fight it out on the field and let's keep in mind human beings are involved.

Speaker 7: That's right. And that's exactly what I thought of when I tried to set up this system to distribute marijuana in Arkansas.

Speaker 5: Yeah, there you go. All right, so three final questions. I'll tell you what they are asking them in order. What has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life? And then on the soundtrack of your life, david, what does one track? One song that's got to be on there? we'll end light. First thing's first, what has most surprised you in cannabis?

Speaker 7: The most surprising thing, cannabis that will tell you this, that, that the polling in Arkansas indicates that, that we are a tick away from use. Adult use. Yeah,

Speaker 5: amazing.

Speaker 7: And when I set up this amendment, we've set that up and with that in mind, and it will not take more than one or two ticks to turn it a, I suspect, and my opponents tried to beat me over the head with it during the middle of it. But you know, this is the initiative. This is pure democracy. If more than 50 percent of the people, the state of Arkansas support adult use of marijuana passed, I think the net shock that, that you guys are going to hear is in four years, Arkansas might tick that.

Speaker 5: Look at that. Alright. I like it. Yeah. What is, uh, what has most surprised you in life?

Speaker 7: Oh wow. The people. There are some really maIn people out there. I mean, I grew up in, in, in, in, in a, in a, in a family where the mom and the dad and, and I've never really met mean selfish people before. And, and there are some generally some many selfish people out there. I think that's the most surprising. And it really bothers me that they're. There really are. that's the most surprising thing to me. Yeah.

Speaker 5: It bugs me too, man. I'll tell ya.

Speaker 7: I mean, it's just like, you know, Kenya, how do you even, how do you come about that, you know, where did that come from? You're born nice.

Speaker 5: so, so to that end, let's just build this bridge if and when we can for the, uh, for the seven folks or are you building a bridge back to them and talk to him and bringing them back in the process?

Speaker 7: Oh, absolutely. You know, um, after the election, um, the, the leadership has seven was really mad and published my cell phone number, my email address and all kinds of stuff and I will tell you, I got so many calls from the seven people saying, you know, what, thanks. And now that they have had an opportunity to sit down and think and we can talk more clearly like you and I have about what six really does. And you're like, well, hell, That's really better than seven. So yeah,

Speaker 5: so we're, we're, we're a kind of rising tide lifts all boats. Let's all do this type of thing.

Speaker 7: Oh, absolutely. and I can tell you right now, um, the, the members of our general assembly, the republicans have already reached out to me and we have to give a governor hutchinson. He has credit. Um, you know, he's, the former drugs are so you would think that he could be maybe bad. that's right. But he said, you know, what, the people of artists I've spoken you wanted the election, we're going to implement this program in a fair and responsible manner. And I've had the, the individual, the state senator that's going to run the state senate part of it, and I've had the state representative is going to run a state. They've all got called me, contacted me, we're sitting down and we're working on enabling legislation and I, you know, there's going to be always some crazies out there to try to do some stuff, but we're not going to get any kickback on this at all.

Speaker 5: Excellent. Alright. And finally on the Soundtrack of your life, it's got to be on there. I know it's either the toughest or the easiest questIon depending on who I'm talking to

Speaker 7: me. And so, uh, I'm old enough that I saw a leonard skinner, so app probably a wow. And that's just really tough.

Speaker 5: Well, curtis, stairway to heaven, since we're talking to with leonard skinner, that led zepplin. sorry, did you just mix up led zepplin and lidar scanners? That's a. well, you know, it might be because you're just a simple man, right? A simple kinD of male. Oh man, that's a great song. That's lender together.

Speaker 7: That is whack. You know, I saw them in 1976 in memphis. It was a, a ozark mountain daredevils, blue oyster cult. Leonard skinner did zz top.

Speaker 5: Oh my god, you can't make that up, man.

Speaker 7: Stay the next night. And went to the south col. Saw elvis presley and

Speaker 5: alrighty, I'm owed.

Speaker 7: I get mad. My son bought me a tee shirt that says I'm old enough. I got to see all the good bands.

Speaker 5: That's true. That's it. David. Thank you so much. Pleasure. Yeah. And I'm looking forward to keeping in toucH with the in and making sure this thing gets done. We got it, man. Take care of. And there you have david couch

Speaker 1: and of course melissa bolts on top. What I personally appreciate is the fact that she said she'd like to work with him. He said he'd like to work with her, check in with both parties and make sure everything is going along swimmingly as we go here, but a legal cannabis in Arkansas. Come on now. Thanks so much for listening.

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Cannabis Economy is a real-time history of legal cannabis. We chronicle how personal and industry histories have combined to provide our current reality.