The owner of a Bentonville liquor business says his storefront has been licensed to sell medical marijuana.
Erik Danielson, a Fayetteville attorney and the owner of Walton Boulevard Wine & Spirits at 406 Razorback Drive, said Wednesday (Feb. 13) the store has received a permit by the state Medical Marijuana Commission to operate as a dispensary. The store is just off Walton Boulevard north of Arkansas Highway 102, one of Bentonville’s busiest intersections.
A social media post on the business’ Facebook page and shared by Danielson read: “It is with both great excitement and great sadness that we announce the selection of this location as one of the 32 licensed Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Arkansas, which means that Walton Blvd. Wine & Spirits will be ceasing operations at this location in the not too distant future.”
In Arkansas, 32 dispensary operators spread across eight geographic zones have been licensed by the state Medical Marijuana Commission to sell cannabis products in Arkansas to qualified patients. Arkansans voted to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes in November 2016.
In a telephone interview, Danielson said he is a 10% owner of one of the Zone 1 dispensary license holders — Arkansas Medicinal Source Patient Center. Zone 1 includes Benton, Washington, Carroll and Madison counties. There will be an additional dispensary in Bentonville and two others in Fayetteville. The physical addresses have not been officially announced by the state Department of Finance and Administration.
“We are hoping to open as close to May 1 as possible,” Danielson said. “That’s when we are told that product will be available from the first cultivator. That’s a very aggressive timeline.”
As for the liquor business, Danielson said he plans to maintain his liquor license and relocate the store to another location. Through a random lottery draw in the summer of 2013, Danielson was awarded a permit by the Alcoholic Beverage Control to sell alcohol in Benton County, which voted to become “wet” in 2012.
Danielson was one of 73 applicants who each paid $2,000 for a chance at one of the 55 permits distributed in the county.
“I decided I’d put my name in the hat [for a permit] and I thought there would be hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants,” Danielson told the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal in April 2014. “I didn’t think it would work out, but it did, and I found myself opening a liquor store.”
Danielson bought the Razorback Road building, formerly occupied by Coffelt Memorials and Reynolds Pest & Termite Control Inc., in November 2012 for $280,000. After a short remodel, Walton Boulevard Wine & Spirits opened Dec. 20, 2013.
Danielson said he will sell the building to a real estate holding company, which will then lease the property to the dispensary.
“We don’t have to sell the building, but for purposes of organizational structure, we’ll sell it to the real estate holding company,” Danielson said.