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Patients face lines on first full day of medical marijuana sales

by Hunter Field | May 11, 2019 at 4:17 p.m. | Updated May 11, 2019 at 9:10 p.m.
A line of people stand in the rain outside Doctors Orders RX on U.S. 270 east of Hot Springs on Saturday. The dispensary became the first medical marijuana dispensary to serve a patient in Arkansas on Friday, albeit to test software.

HOT SPRINGS — Hundreds of patients stood in line in the rain early Saturday morning, waiting to buy medical marijuana from the first dispensary in Arkansas to open its doors.

Doctor’s Orders RX, on U.S. 270 east of Hot Springs, attempted to open Friday, but glitches with state-mandated software delayed the first full day of business until Saturday.

The dispensary opened 2 1/2 years after voters approved Amendment 98 to the state constitution legalizing medical marijuana.

Patients had five types of product from which to choose, at a cost of $420 an ounce, plus taxes.

Hiccups with the state-mandated patient-tracking software delayed the opening of Doctor’s Orders, and it also slowed the rate at which it could process new patients. The software keeps track of when patients purchase marijuana to ensure no one buys more than they are legally allowed. The limit is 2.5 ounces every two weeks. The software was tested on one patient Friday afternoon.

The software glitches continued Saturday and delayed the pace for filling orders.

But by Saturday evening, a spokesman estimated that Doctor’s Orders had served about 200 patients, exceeding morning expectations. The dispensary planned to stay open until 10 p.m. to continue seeing patients who had waited in line. It had initially planned to close at 7 p.m.

The company said it hoped to help everyone in line prior to the state-mandated closing time of 10 p.m. Saturday.

A spokesman said it would re-open at noon Sunday.

The dispensary also handed out about 500 burritos to people waiting in line in Saturday’s drizzle.

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