The state of Arkansas is considering a bill that would legalize cannabis in the state, but some businesses are worried about how to compete with unregulated cannabis.
The arkansas cultivation facilities is a business that has been in the cannabis industry for decades. Recently, they have started to air complaints to Arkansas lawmakers about proposed changes to the state’s marijuana laws.
At a legislative subcommittee hearing last week, members of Arkansas’ medical marijuana business expressed their dissatisfaction with the state contractor in charge of tracking cannabis goods and sales.
Sen. Linda Chesterfield, D-Little Rock, vice chairperson of the Arkansas Legislative Council’s Medical Marijuana Oversight Subcommittee, addressed the matter on Thursday, saying she had heard concerns about the Biotrack system’s accuracy and that the business had not been attentive to providers’ requirements.
In 2017, the state of Arkansas signed a $560,000 contract with Biotrack via the Arkansas Department of Health, which may be renewed yearly until 2024.
All medical marijuana growing facilities and dispensaries must utilize an inventory monitoring system set up by the state to trace goods from seed through delivery, according to regulations issued by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division.
The software system is used to gather and report “seed to sale” monitoring information for medicinal marijuana products, according to the contract. It is necessary to report the entire quantity of marijuana and processed marijuana product bought from dispensaries by a qualified patient or caregiver in any two-week period in real time.
The state must also have access to data from dispensaries and growing facilities, such as the total number of seeds and plants in possession, total product inventory, and information on the product’s transportation.
“If it’s down and not working, that’s a glitch in the process, and we want to make sure that the citizens of this state who have these [medical marijuana patient ID] cards are given the best possible service,” Chesterfield said, adding that she’d like to see representatives from the company and the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control, which regulates medical marijuana businesses, at the meeting.
Those worries were shared by members of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association.
Alex Gray, owner of Pine Bluff-based grower Good Day Farm Arkansas, said the firm hears about problems like goods vanishing in the system “on a regular basis” and works with Alcoholic Beverage Control to resolve them.
Others in the organization had concerns as well, but recognized that there was unlikely to be a perfect answer since there aren’t many cannabis-related businesses.
Robert DeBin, president and CEO of White Hall-based grower Natural State Medicinals, stated, “I don’t think there is a perfect software solution in existence right now.” “That said, it’s the number one thing that keeps me up at night. It’s been said that things vanish, and I’ve personally seen groupings of items vanish and reappearance as a new product.”
According to him, such issues cause delivery to be delayed, and the company’s tech assistance is often sluggish.
“That happens all the time. It’s very aggravating “he said
By Friday evening, Biotrack’s governmental relations line had not returned calls requesting comment.
In addition to entering data into Biotrack, DeBin said his firm is building a separate system to keep track of goods internally so that information isn’t lost.
The technology has a “pretty steep learning curve” and a “extremely small tolerance for mistake,” according to Robbin Rahman, executive director of Harvest Cannabis Dispensary in Conway, but things had improved as workers came to know the system better. However, he described the firm’s tech assistance as “nearly non-existent,” implying that when an issue occurs, the company is unable to complete transactions.
Connie Melton, head of the Arkansas Department of Health’s Center for Health Protection, said Thursday that she had not received any complaints about the contractor.
“We deal with Biotrack on a regular basis. After then, I’d be delighted to receive some additional information from you “Chesterfield was informed by her.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Division is aware of some concerns and problems that medical-marijuana permit holders have had with the program, according to Scott Hardin, a spokesperson for the state Department of Finance and Administration.
“Any obstacle to the effective functioning of our authorized producers and dealers throughout the state is taken seriously by us. As a consequence, we’ve reached out to Biotrack on a number of times for assistance in resolving problems. When a problem is brought to our notice, we record it and do all we can within our power to help “In an email sent on Friday, Hardin said.
The data collected by the system is useful for regulatory purposes as well as “monitoring the health of the business as a whole,” according to Hardin.
Problems with marijuana sales monitoring software hampered the launch of the state’s first dispensary in 2019.
According to Hardin, the Department of Health has a separate contract with Biotrack for the delivery of medicinal marijuana patient cards.
Act 632 of 2021, sponsored by Chesterfield, established the Medical Marijuana Oversight Subcommittee. The panel is charged by law with giving recommendations on all issues related to Amendment 98, the constitutional amendment that legalized cannabis for medicinal use and was passed by Arkansas voters in 2016.
Arkansas’ medical marijuana business is booming, with sales topping $365 million in July. Since the first shops opened in May 2019, more than 54,000 pounds of marijuana have been sold, with 78,943 active medical marijuana ID cards in the state as of Aug. 21.
The arkansas cultivation license application is a document that must be submitted in order to apply for an Arkansas cannabis business license.
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