NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA)–Arkansans have less than a month to wait before they can buy medical marijuana in the Natural State.
According to the Medical Marijuana Commission, the first dispensary to open its doors will be Doctors Orders in Hot Springs, set to start selling around May 12th.
Four Northwest Arkansas dispensaries are not far behind.
Michael Mayes of Acanza Health Group, a dispensary coming to Fayetteville, said: “It was long awaited but, you know, good things come to those who wait.”
Four medical marijuana dispensaries are set to open in Northwest Arkansas, two in Fayetteville and two in Bentonville.
But, not before jumping through a couple of hoops.
“They are working on the way in which product will be in and out of the facility, they’re working on logistics, so there’s quite a bit of work to do. But, the good news is those dispensaries are making good progress at this point,” said Scott Hardin, the spokesman for the Medical Marijuana Commission.
Mayes is in the middle of this process, trying to tie all the loose ends before opening his dispensary at the end of the summer.
He said, “There is a huge question as to how to manage, regulate and permit cannabis businesses.”
He said he had to first submit detailed drawings of the facility to the state.
Then, he says the city must approve the designs as well, which could cause a delay if it’s not familiar with how dispensaries are typically modeled.
“And then you finally get your building permit. Then after that, you apply for your business license, you can set up your security and monitoring, you’re going to have to apply for your sales tax license, and all the insurance’s that are required in the facility,” Mayes said.
After the construction phase, there’s a series of inspections, with the final okay coming from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
All four companies in Northwest Arkansas are growing dispensaries, meaning they won’t have to rely on cultivation facilities to stock the shelves.
Hardin said this is good news for our area.
He said, “If for some reason there’s a shortage from the cultivation facilities as we launch this across the state, those four dispensaries can simply go to their own plants. They can bring in mature plants or grow 50 plants.”
At the end of May, Hardin predicts the Natural State will have anywhere from three to five dispensaries open.
“It’s safe to say we are going to see a line around that first dispensary that opens,” he said.