Arkansas’s first medical marijuana dispensary has been approved to open, though it’ll likely be about a week before it has product for sale. The state’s Alcohol Beverage Control, which is part of the Department of Finance and Administration and regulates medical marijuana, announced Friday that inspectors went through Doctor’s Orders RX in Hot Springs with the local fire marshal and found it met all required standards.
"It can open tomorrow morning if it chooses," said department spokesman Scott Hardin. "We do anticipate it probably will be a little closer to mid-May before they’re actually ready to open their doors."
He says three cultivation facilities licensed by the state are currently growing marijuana. Two more are under construction. One, BOLD Team in Cotton Plant, Ark., is to have its first harvest ready in the coming week, Hardin says. The other two are expected to harvest their first crops in June or July.
In a written statement, Don Sears, owner of Doctor’s Orders, said:
I am pleased that Doctors Orders RX received official approval to open Arkansas’s first licensed medical cannabis dispensary. We will announce our opening date in the coming days, and we fully expect the initial demand for our products to exceed availability. Until cultivation capacity can keep up with demand, we will operate on a first-come, first-serve basis with the limited products currently available. We look forward to finally being able to provide relief to ailing Arkansans across our state.
Hardin says a second dispensary, Green Springs Medical, which is also in Hot Springs, is to be inspected next Thursday and could become the second licensed retailer.
Voters approved medical marijuana in November 2016. Some have been critical of the length of time it took the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission and other state officials to finally get to this point, but Hardin said, "We are finally there and we will see a dispensary open its doors here in the next few days."