Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
December 28th, 2017 • News

December 28, 2017- Senator Keith Ingram audio report of news from the 91st General Assembly.

  • Sometime during the year 2018, the first legal medical marijuana will be dispensed to patients.
  • Early in the year, the legislature approved a regulatory system that will ensure medical marijuana is treated like medicine, in all aspects of its production. The companies who grow it will have to comply with strict operating standards, as will the retail outlets that sell it to patients.
  • The newly-created Medical Marijuana Commission has received a flood of applications from companies that want to grow or sell medical marijuana. Each application is about 1,000 pages long and filled with technical details, so it’s no surprise that a final decision on dispensaries and growers will not come until we are well into 2018.
  • New and lower sales tax rates will take effect on July 1 of 2018, for manufacturing companies that purchase equipment for repairs and replacement parts. The rate will be phased out completely over the next four years, and when they have been completely eliminated the savings for Arkansas manufacturers will be more than $12 million a year.
  • In February the legislature will convene in a fiscal session to adopt a budget for state government for the upcoming fiscal year. This means passing appropriations for all state agencies and institutions of higher education, which are budgeted to spend more than $28 billion in Fiscal 2017.
  • If there is any controversy during this year’s fiscal session, it likely will be over Medicaid expansion.
  • 2018 will be a good year for political observers, because of the full slate of elections for state constitutional office. Those races include the elections for governor, attorney general and secretary of state. The entire House of Representatives and half the Senate will be up for election.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from December 28, 2017