Leaders Form Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017 2:57 pm   2 min read

Leaders in the health care, agricultural and legal sectors have formed the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association, a nonprofit that aims to be the primary industry group for the state's medical marijuana industry.

Members include David Couch, the Little Rock attorney who wrote the medical marijuana amendment approved by voters in November. Couch is a board member and acting executive director of the association.

"Arkansas voters made clear that they want sensible, safe medical marijuana policy in this state, because they recognize the clear evidence that cannabinoids are effective in pain relief and treating a number of chronic illnesses," Couch said in a news release. "Our association will be a partnership of all those with a common interest in ensuring the state stays true to the will of the voters and medical marijuana operations are run safely and legally."

The association said it "will engage in the policy making process to advocate for the industry, educate licensees on best practices to help self-regulate the industry, and conduct public education initiatives about the medical marijuana industry at large and the safe use of the drug for medicinal purposes."

A seven-member board will oversee the association. In addition to Couch, its members are:

• Dr. Steven Cathey of Little Rock, chairman, a neurosurgeon and chairman of the Arkansas State Medical Board. Cathey is board certified in neurological surgery. The Monticello native has been practicing for more than 35 years.

• Stephen LaFrance of Little Rock, former executive vice president of USA Drug of Pine Bluff, which was the nation's largest privately owned pharmacy chain when it sold to Walgreens in 2012. LaFrance is principal officer and owner of Dale Capital Partners Inc. and is a founding investor and board member of Greenwoods State Bank of Lake Mills, Wisconsin, and is the founder of the Arkansas Junior Tennis Foundation.

• Dustin McDaniel, partner at the Little Rock law firm McDaniel Richardson and Calhoun. McDaniel was a two-term Arkansas attorney general. As a legislator, he was chairman of the Joint Committee on Health Insurance and Prescription Drugs. McDaniel began his career as a police officer in his hometown of Jonesboro. He is co-chairman of the national Society of Attorneys General Emeritus (SAGE).

• Richard Douglas, managing partner at PMK Associates of Alexandria, Virginia, a marketing and communications firm. Douglas is a former assistant deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture under President Reagan and member of President George H.W. Bush's Export Advisory Council and was senior vice president for corporate affairs for Sun Diamond Growers of California.

• Kris Krane, president of 4Front Ventures of Boston, a holding company with subsidiaries that have developed best practice operating standards for retail medical marijuana dispensaries. Before forming 4Front, Krane was director of client services for CannBe of Oakland, California. He is on the boards of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the National Cannabis Industry Association, Marijuana Majority, and Common Sense for Drug Policy.

• Dan Roda, general counsel and development lead at Rock Capital Group of Little Rock. Roda provides legal and consulting services to startups, private individuals and closely held companies on matters including corporate and securities law, mergers and acquisitions, cannabis industry regulation, and estate and tax planning.

The association said full membership is open to medical marijuana cultivators and distributors, with associate memberships available to businesses and organizations related to the industry. Membership applications and information is coming soon to the association's website, ARMedicalMarijuana.org

You can also apply for membership via members@armedicalmarijuana.org.



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