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story.lead_photo.caption In this Sept. 15, 2015 file photo, marijuana plants are a few weeks away from harvest at a medical marijuana cultivation center. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

FAYETTEVILLE -- Owners of three of the four medical marijuana dispensaries approved for Northwest Arkansas said they're weeks away from opening after more than two years of delays.

Roger Song, one of the owners of The ReLeaf Center in Bentonville, said the business plans to open early next month.

Registry card

In order to qualify for a registry card to legally purchase medical marijuana, one must meet the following qualifications:

• Be 18 years of age or older or be a minor patient with parental consent.

• Be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition.

• Have the official written certification from a physician.

• Be an Arkansas resident with proof of residency.

• State law prohibits members of the Arkansas National Guard and U.S. military from obtaining a registry ID card.

Qualifying medical conditions are:

• Cancer

• Glaucoma

• Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome

• Hepatitis C

• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS

• Tourette’s syndrome

• Crohn’s disease

• Ulcerative colitis

• Post-traumatic stress disorder

• Severe arthritis

• Fibromyalgia

• Alzheimer’s disease

• Cachexia or wasting syndrome

• Peripheral neuropathy

• Intractable pain, which is pain not responding to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six months

• Severe nausea

• Seizures, including without limitation those characteristic of epilepsy

• Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including without limitation those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

• And, any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the Department of Health

Sources: Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration

"Our goal right now is to open the first week of August. There's some last little stuff we're waiting on," Song said. "We're trying to finish up construction next week."

Song said getting equipment and inventory set up is the next step after construction.

[RELATED: See complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of medical marijuana in Arkansas at]

"If there's a couple of delays, it shouldn't be anything that's going to extend it for weeks or months, but days," he said. "I'm ready for the 'when-are-you-opening' phase to be done already."

Song and his partners have a dispensary at 9400 McNelly Road in Bentonville. Other ReLeaf owners are listed as Kevin Frazier, Laura Frazier and Matt Shansky.

Acanza Health Group of Little Rock is getting ready to open a dispensary in August at 2733 N. McConnell Ave. in Fayetteville, according to Randi Hernandez, CEO of the company.

"The best I can give you now is we're hoping to be done with construction the beginning of August. And once we have all the inspections, between the city and the state, we hope to be open by mid-August," Hernandez said.

Owners are listed as Hernandez, Jancey Hutcherson, Matthew Jansen, Joseph Jansen, Grady Harvell, Darlene Hampton, Janinne Riggs and Richard Hutson.

Arkansas Medicinal Source of Fayetteville plans to open a dispensary at 406 Razorback Drive in Bentonville in three to four weeks, pending an inspection by Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control, which oversees medical marijuana in Arkansas.

"ABC requested that we send a form in three weeks prior to a proposed inspection date; we're sending our form in today," Erik Danielson said Friday. "I don't know that we'll hit it, but that's what we're hoping. Barring any unforeseen issues from either the city of Bentonville or ABC or any of the other regulatory agencies. But, from a pure construction side, we're looking at that time frame."

Owners are listed as Jeff Starling, David Starling, Aaron Crawley, Mitchell Massey, Mike Tullis, Conor Filter, Robert McLarty and Danielson.

Representatives of the other dispensary didn't return telephone calls Friday seeking information about their opening.

Valentine Holdings of Jonesboro has a location at 3390 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Fayetteville, according to filings with the state Department of Finance and Administration.

Owners of Valentine Holdings are listed as Lynn Parker, Donald Parker II, T. Michelle McKee, John McKee and Ray Osment.

While you can't legally buy medical marijuana in Bentonville or Fayetteville just yet, there are five retailers open in other cities, including Hot Springs, Little Rock, Clinton, Helena-West Helena and, most recently, Hensley. The first opened March 10.

Doctors have issued about 15,500 patient or caregiver ID cards, which allow a person to buy marijuana from a dispensary. Dispensaries have sold about 200 pounds of marijuana with sales of about $2 million.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has issued growing licenses to five cultivation companies and 32 retailers around the state. Amendment 98 to the Arkansas Constitution allows up to eight growers and 40 dispensaries.

The commission took more than two years to issue those licenses but growers and retailers have also been slow to become operational after getting permission to proceed.

News on 07/07/2019

Print Headline: Northwest Arkansas pot dispensaries close to opening


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  • 23cal
    July 7, 2019 at 9:29 a.m.

    It's cannabis, not pot. Editor seems to have a real problem with accurate terms such as cannabis and fetus.
    It is what you can expect from a newspaper person whose goals are to poison the dialogue with connotative negative terms instead of to enlighten.

  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    July 7, 2019 at 4:54 p.m.

    23cal when i first entered the world of media I was told to write my news stories and advertisements for a third grade education. this is what you may be seeing. you might also want to read today's article about the poor literacy problem in some of Arkansas schools. i personally felt it was wrong to talk down to people. but my news director won the day.

  • DeeBeeCooper
    July 8, 2019 at 9:28 a.m.

    Just cannot stop using the word "POT". Get in the 21st Century.

  • DeeBeeCooper
    July 8, 2019 at 9:32 a.m.

    In addition to the use of outdated terms "pot" and pejoratives "marijuana", we have just basic errors. No dispensary was open in Arkansas for medical cannabis on 10 March....on 10 MAY for sure. I was there.