Patients with qualifying debilitating conditions in the state of Arkansas will now be able to buy medical marijuana as the state’s first dispensary began operations on Saturday, although the ‘celebrations’ were hampered by confusion about operating hours, the initial waiting time and fears that the dispensary may fail to cater to all the patients by closing time.
Doctor’s Orders RX in Hot Springs, the first licensed dispensary to see the light of day, opened (unofficially) to a handful of customers on Friday, in order to check if all its systems and softwares were working as expected.
Scott Hardin, the spokesman for the Department of Finance and Administration, said that besides the former, another dispensary, named Green Springs Medical is all set to begin its operations from Monday.
The marijuana products currently available in the present and upcoming dispensaries are coming from only one of the state’s five licensed cultivators, because, as of now, only one cultivator was ready with the harvest. Two more cultivators are hoping to reap their harvests by summer.
“We are glad that patients will now be able to access the appropriate marijuana products and possible relief they have patiently been awaiting for long,” the chairman of the Medical Marijuana Commission, Dr. Rhonda Henry-Tillman, told a leading news agency.
Nearly 100 people were seen in the queue spiraling outside Doctor’s Orders RX at 8 AM. People came out in huge numbers from places like Jacksonville, Saline County, Heber Springs and northwest Arkansas despite the rain. However, the doors of the dispensary did not open until 9.20 AM. In the meantime, the employees of the store distributed the pamphlets listing the strains, potency and prices of the products.
Many customers, however, couldn’t control their frustration when another employee explained that the state-required electronic system that tracks patients’ purchases would take some time to set up for each buyer. By the time this announcement was made, 50 more customers had joined the queue.
Reportedly, as of Thursday, the Arkansas Health Department had approved medical marijuana cards for more than 11,700 residents.