After more than two decades of litigation and flaws, marijuana was sold legally on Friday in Arkansas for the first time since it was criminalized back in 1923.
Doctors Orders RX, a Hot Spring dispensary, had a soft opening on Friday. Expecting long lines and limited solution, the dispensary intends to open its doors to patients Saturday (today) from 8a. to 7p., a company spokesman said Friday afternoon.
Because of glitches with the state-mandated monitoring applications, timing of the opening was in question, but the dispensary served a patient on Friday once the issues were resolved.
The cost of cannabis will range from $395 to $420 per ounce, depending on the merchant. Smaller quantities will be available.
Another dispensary intends to open at 10 a.m. Monday. Green Springs Medical received final approval to open from state regulators on Friday. It’s located at 309 Seneca St. in Hot Springs.
The medication will probably be in short supply at the beginning, but cultivators anticipate additional harvests in the forthcoming weeks. Prices are also high initially, but business leaders expect them to decrease over time as they have in other states once markets grow.
A company spokesman said Doctors Orders will initially charge $420 per ounce of dry flower, which is typically purchased in smaller increments such as an eighth of an ounce ($52.50). Green Springs Medical will cost $395 per ounce or $15 per gram, according to CEO Dragan Vicentic.
Both dispensaries cautioned patients to expect long lines and waits for the first few weeks that marijuana can be obtained.
Arkansans voted to legalize cannabis for medical use in 2016, approving Amendment 98 into the Arkansas Constitution, but legal and bureaucratic roadblocks have slowed the rollout of this program.
In total, the state has issued 32 dispensary licenses, and five growing licenses. Aside from both Hot Springs dispensaries, the other 30 are in varying phases of construction or preparation to open.
Arkansas is the 33rd state with a medical marijuana program.
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