HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Two and a half years after Arkansans voted to legalize medical marijuana, qualifying patients could begin buying the product Saturday morning, when the state’s first dispensary opened, though the celebratory mood was dampened by confusion about operating hours and fears the dispensary wouldn’t be able to serve all the patients by closing time.
Doctor’s Orders RX in Hot Springs was the first dispensary to be officially licensed by the state and is currently the only one operating. It sold marijuana to a patient Friday to test its software and officially opened Saturday.
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Another Hot Springs dispensary, Green Springs Medical, was approved Friday and plans to open Monday morning. Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin said no other dispensaries are scheduled for inspection and approval, but he expects that to change over the next week.
“Processing schedules are unpredictable and out of our control.”
Don Sears, Doctor’s Orders RX owner
Voters approved a measure legalizing medical marijuana for certain conditions in 2016. The product currently available is from one of the state’s five licensed cultivators, the only one has harvested the plant. Two other cultivators have begun growing and expect to harvest by summer.
Dr. Rhonda Henry-Tillman, who chairs the Medical Marijuana Commission, said in a statement Friday that the commission was “pleased” dispensaries were opening and is “glad that patients will be able to access the appropriate cannabis product and possible relief they have patiently been awaiting.”
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By 8 a.m., when patients expected Doctor’s Orders RX to open, around 100 people stood in a line that wrapped around the building and