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Arkansas Medical Board Chairman Steps Down from MMJ Trade Association Board

The chairman of the Arkansas Medical Board, Dr. Steven Cathey, is no longer on the board of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association, citing potential conflicts of interest, according to a Talk Business & Politics report.

“Where things changed for me was after I started reviewing my role as the state (Medical Board) chairman, I was fearful there would be a conflict of interest and in my opinion even a perception of conflict of interest would be inappropriate – so I declined to participate,” Cathey said in the report. “That was pretty much the bottom line.”

The neurosurgeon said that he does believe that Arkansas’ cannabis industry “needs a clinician’s voice and input” as physicians are “heavily involved” in the medical cannabis acquisition process.

“I think doctors need to be at the table when we consider medical and regulatory issues surrounding this new industry,” he said.

The shakeup comes less than a week after the creation of the AMMA, which is chaired by Little Rock attorney David Couch, who led the ballot initiative effort to legalize medical cannabis in the state.

After Cathey’s participation with the association had been announced, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a Talk Business & Politics interview, that he didn’t think “someone on the Medical Board should be associated with a medical marijuana advocacy group.”

The board is comprised with some former government officials, including former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, and Dr. Richard Douglas, former assistant deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture under President Ronald Reagan.

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