Entrepreneurs hoping for the state’s rubber stamp to either grow or sell medical marijuana, a newly approved market in Arkansas, lined up to submit lengthy applications Monday.
The Associated Press reported that potential growers and distributors flooded a state office building in Little Rock to wait their turn to submit the paperwork. Monday is the deadline for both groups.
Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin told the AP about 300 firms or individuals had submitted applications by the close of business Monday.
A state panel will review every proposal, many of which are averaging 1,000 pages long, the outlet reported. After the review, the commission will select five growers and 32 distribution sites. Arkansas voters approved marijuana use for a specified list of medical conditions last year.
Those hoping to grow medical marijuana had to pay a $15,000 application fee, while potential distributors paid $7,500. Unsuccessful applicants will have half their money refunded.
Among those who submitted applications are two Jonesboro-area pharmacists under the name Health Central Arkansas, according to a news release. David Eddington and Mike Soo want to open a “high-end” dispensary in Jonesboro as well as a cultivation center in Monroe County, the release said.
“As pharmacists, we see people every day with chronic pain and other debilitating illnesses who rely on traditional drugs to treat their symptoms. Over time, it has become clear that some of the most prescribed drugs like opioids are doing far more harm than good,” Eddington said in the statement.
Though dozens of people are vying for a slot to grow or sell the substance, some Arkansans are encouraging municipalities to resist the budding business.
Family Council President Jerry Cox said in a statement that the organization is working with attorneys to help cities and counties “who do not want marijuana businesses in their communities.”
“Many of those who voted to legalize marijuana still want marijuana properly regulated,” Cox stated. “They don’t want marijuana stores on Main Street, and they don’t want drug users wandering around parks and playgrounds. They want to protect their communities from the effects of marijuana, and we are here to help them do that.”
About 53% of voters approved the 2016 amendment to legalize medical marijuana while about 47% of voters opposed it.
Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.