US (AR): MMJ industry sits tight following court ruling that could alter future of business

Arkansas' medical cannabis industry is in a wait-and-see mode after a court ruling last week that could potentially upend the future of cannabis in the state. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Morgan "Chip" Welch declared 27 laws regulating medical cannabis in Arkansas "void" on June 14, saying the General Assembly unconstitutionally overstepped its legal bounds.

Those laws had changed Amendment 98 to the Arkansas Constitution, which legalizes medical cannabis. The amendment, which was put on the ballot in 2016 through a petition campaign and approved by a majority of voters, cannot be amended by the Legislature, Welch wrote in his ruling.

The laws now declared void and unconstitutional include regulations on how much THC, the drug's psychoactive compound, can be in medical cannabis edibles, a ban on pre-rolled joints, and restrictions on how cannabis businesses can advertise their products, among other rules.

But despite Welch voiding 27 laws regulating cannabis, several people in the medical cannabis industry said they will not change how they operate, at least for now. "It has not affected the industry in any way yet, but it very much could," said Ryan Kenaga, president of River Valley Relief, a cultivator based in Fort Smith.


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