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The Arkansas medical cannabis community now has a trade association, as a coalition of businesses and individuals have formed the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association, which has tabbed Little Rock attorney David Couch as its executive director. Couch led the efforts to put the medical cannabis issue to voters, which was approved last November.

The association also counts former state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel among its board of directors members. McDaniel, who is now in private practice, was the attorney general when the initiative was approved by the office.

Other board members include Dr. Steven Cathey, a neurosurgeon and chairman of the state Medical Board; Dr. Richard Douglas, who served as the former assistant deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Reagan Administration and as a member of President George H.W. Bush’s Export Advisory Council; Kris Kane, president of 4Front Ventures, a holding company which includes medical cannabis dispensaries, who also serves on the boards of the National Cannabis Industry Association, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Common Sense for Drug Policy, and Marijuana Majority; Don Roda, general counsel and development head at Rock Capital Group; and owner of Sale Capital Partners Stephen LaFrance, the former executive vice president of USA Drug which sold its 157 pharmacies to Walgreens in 1992.

“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 press 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.”

According to the release, the association plans on engaging with the policy-making process and providing public-education to patients throughout the state.

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