EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. — Arkansas is in the process of making its medical marijuana market.
Ten days ago, the state began accepting applications from potential business owners looking to establish one of Arkansas’ first cultivation facilities and dispensaries. So far, there have been no applications submitted.
While the official paper work may not be in, Eureka Springs Mayor, Butch Berry, says he has heard from several entrepreneurs looking to establish a dispensary inside city limits.
“One of the arts of Eureka Springs is the healing arts,” Berry says, “so we think medical marijuana is a perfect fit for our community.”
Berry is encouraging the development of medical marijuana in his community. He says nearly two-thirds of residents voted in favor of the amendment and it would also mean a new form of tax revenue.
“We want it to have a little bit of diversification in our business plan,” he says. “That would give us a year-round business platform that we don’t have right now.”
The Medical Marijuana Commission is currently accepting applications for a total of five growing facilities and 32 dispensaries.
The dispensaries, where the medical marijuana can be purchased, will be spread out across the state. An eight zone map has been created by the commission; each zone will have four dispensaries.
“Cities may impose restrictions upon these facilities,” says Mary Robin Casteel with Alcohol Beverage Control, “but nothing more restrictive than what they’ve placed on pharmacies.”
Casteel’s department will be responsible for enforcing the regulations on medical marijuana and tracking it from seed to sale.
She says the medical marijuana commission will award licenses based on aspects like business plan, past business dealings, security and economic impact.
Cultivation facilities and dispensaries will also have to show proof of financial stability by showing proof of $1-million in assets and $500,000 in liquid assets. Those figures are $200,000 and $100,000 respectively for dispensaries.
Questions surrounding cash are far from finalized. In states where some form of marijuana is legal, federally insured banks won’t accept the revenue brought in by dispensaries and growing facilities.
“It’s possible it plays out the same way it has played out in other states that have legalized it in some form,” she says.
Casteel says it will most likely be after the first of the year before the first official sale of medical marijuana in Arkansas.
After the application window closes on September 18, the commission will need time to rank each one.
“We don’t know how long that will take,” Casteel says, “because we don’t know how many applications we will receive.”
View the full list of requirements for a dispensary license below.