LITTLE ROCK — A legislative panel approved rules for the state’s medical-marijuana program and pay raises for two state agency heads during a meeting Friday.
The Legislative Council also approved a request from the Bureau of Legislative Research to hire outside counsel to handle requests for information from federal investigators.
The council, which serves as the Legislature’s governing body between sessions, reviewed and approved medical-marijuana rules drafted by the state Department of Finance and Administration’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, the state Department of Health and the state Medical Marijuana Commission.
Each set of rules has gone through a 30-day public-comment period and was reviewed Tuesday by the Legislative Council’s Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee. The council signed off on the rules Friday with no discussion.
Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment in November to legalize the purchase and use of marijuana for medicinal use by people with certain medical conditions.
The state will begin accepting applications for licenses to operate marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries June 30.
Also Friday, the council approved, again without discussion, raising the annual salary of Department of Human Services Director Cindy Gillespie from $280,000 to $282,800 and raising Department of Education Director Johnny Key’s pay from $233,488 to $235,824.
Legislative approval was required for the 1 percent raises because both salaries are above the maximum annual salary of $201,700 for senior executives under the state’s pay plan.
The council also approved hiring David McMahon as deputy chief financial officer for Medicaid at an annual salary of $157,100, which is the maximum salary level for the position under the pay plan.
The council’s Uniform Personnel Classification and Compensation Plan Subcommittee approved the salary requests Tuesday.
The council also approved without discussion the Bureau of Legislative Research’s request to hire outside counsel. The bureau has not disclosed what federal agency is seeking information from it or why.