Marijuana facilities benefit from slow rollout – Hot Springs Sentinel

The third of four medical marijuana dispensaries licensed for the zone that includes Garland County was approved to open Monday as the state looks into why more licensees aren’t up and running 31 months after voters endorsed the medicinal use of the drug.

The state-approved Native Green Wellness Center to open Monday, making it the fifth dispensary to receive approval of 32 licensed statewide. The Hensley location on the Saline and Pulaski county line is one of four dispensaries licensed for Zone 6, the eight-county region that includes Garland County.

Doctor’s Orders RX, 4897 Malvern Ave., and Green Springs Medical, 309 Seneca St., opened in May, making them the state’s first locations to sell marijuana legally. Natural State Medical Group at 1402 Airport Road holds the other Zone 6 license but has yet to open.

With only four of the 32 dispensaries it licensed in operation as of Monday, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is exploring taking action against licensees who aren’t making an effort to serve the more than 14,000 people the state has certified as having a condition qualifying for medical marijuana treatment.

“At the request of the Medical Marijuana Commission, the attorney general’s office is reviewing the options available should dispensaries not take any action toward opening,” said Scott Hardin, director of communications for the Department of Finance and Administration, the parent agency of Alcohol Beverage Control Division, which regulates dispensaries and cultivation facilities. “We anticipate the attorney general’s office will have feedback to the commission at the next meeting scheduled for August.”

The state began awarding licenses in January, more than two years after voters passed the medical marijuana amendment in November 2016. Hardin said requests for inspections have picked up after a slow start. Fiddler’s Green in Mountain View is scheduled for inspection this week.

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