Arkansas’ 12th medical marijuana dispensary is now open. KASU’s Johnathan Reaves has this report.
Last week, state officials gave the green light for N-E-A Full Spectrum to start operating. The dispensary is located just north of Jonesboro on Highway 49 in the tiny community of Brookland. The opening of the business was welcome news to customers in line…many of whom say they had to drive several hours to other parts of the state to receive medical marijuana. One of those is Penny Elder.
“I was tired of taking the regular medications the doctors were trying to get me to take,” says Elder. “Back in June, I started taking medical marijuana and I have gone off of two of the three medicines I was taking, so it has been doing me some good.”
Elder says she has three of the qualifying conditions that patients must have in order to be able to purchase medical marijuana. N-E-A Full Spectrum General Manager Lance Huey says there are strict guidelines in how the product is cultivated and dispersed to patients.
“The people through petition passed this into law and so a majority of Arkansans think this is a good deal. These cultivation and dispensary facilities are highly regulated, so this lets people legally get their medical marijuana.”
Only those who have a state ID and a medical marijuana card can go into the building…and they are limited to purchasing two and a half ounces every 14 days. Right now, the facility is just dispensing medicine, but is expected to start growing it in a few months. In 2016, Arkansas voters approved the sale and use of medical marijuana in the state. Brookland resident Penny Elder says she was not expecting the state to pass the measure, but when it did pass…
“We celebrated,” says Elder. “I went and voted and thought that if it passed it would do a lot of good and I think it is doing a lot of good for people.”
Huey says he understands concerns some people may have about a medical marijuana dispensary being located close to them.
“We have a responsibility to keep a safe product and a safe environment to make sure that we put the product in the hands of those who legally can get medical marijuana.
The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration says patients have spent over 23 million dollars to obtain over three thousand pounds of medical marijuana across the state.