Fort Cannabis, the licensed medical marijuana dispensary in Fort Smith, will open for business at noon Wednesday (Dec. 18), with owners hoping to tap into a market that as of Dec. 16 has generated almost $26 million in sales in less than eight months.
Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control issued an approval letter to the company late Friday following a review of the inspection report, said Scott Hardin, communications director for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.
Officials conducted an inspection of the business Friday, which is owned by Jeff Scholtes and Sheri Neely. Jordan Mooney, the dispensary’s general manager, said he expects there to be a long line at the opening. Truckin Delicious, a Fort Smith food truck, posted on social media Tuesday (Dec. 17), that they would be at the grand opening with their Italian fusion menu.
“All our patients will be new patients tomorrow, so there will be paperwork that needs to be completed. We’ll have refreshments outside while they wait and possibly a food truck,” Mooney said.
The dispensary will begin with nine to 10 employees. No one “can step across the threshold” of the business who is not a dispensary agent or dispensary owner or who does not have a caregiver card, visitor’s card or patient card, Mooney said.
The dispensary is set up like a typical doctor’s office, he said. Customers will register as a new patient and will be received by a “bud tender,” who will meet with the patient to determine their needs, what type of product they prefer and what works for them. When patients leave, they will be sent home with a survey, so they can make notes about what works and what doesn’t, he added.
“It is really a very standard and simple process,” Mooney said.
Patients do not need an appointment; they can just walk-in. There also will be a menu of products available on the website, so patients can place orders online, Mooney said, noting that state law requires all purchases to be paid for and picked up at a dispensary. The dispensary will have a variety of every type of processed medical marijuana and medical marijuana flowers available, Mooney said. To start with, there will be edibles, flowers, crumbles, oil, butter, tinctures and wax, he said. Prices for the products will vary according to the product.
“They all come in different sizes and types with different prices,” Mooney said.
Fort Cannabis is one of four dispensaries in Zone 4, Hardin said. Located at 3904 Ayers Road, it is the only dispensary in Fort Smith. The first Zone 4 dispensary to request inspection was 420 Dispensary in Russellville. ABC issued 420 a letter of formal approval to open for business Dec. 13. The other two licensed dispensaries in Zone 4, River Valley Dispensary in Bluffton and Johnson County Dispensary in Clarksville, have not opened.
Each of the state’s eight zones has four licensed dispensaries for a total of 32. Each of the 32 licensed dispensaries must pass inspection prior to opening for business. As of Dec. 16, sales statewide of medical marijuana total $25.71 million on the 3,812 pounds that have been sold.
Following are the Arkansas medical marijuana dispensary locations, the opening date, and amount of marijuana sold.
• Suite 443 (Hot Springs), May 10, 219.45 pounds
• Green Springs Medical (Hot Springs), May 12, 952.75 pounds
• Arkansas Natural Products (Clinton), June 20, 187.2 pounds
• Greenlight Dispensary (Helena), June 27, 217.8 pounds
• Native Green Wellness (Hensley), July 2, 441.24 pounds
• Fiddler’s Green (Mountain View), July 11, 368.7 pounds
• Releaf Center (Bentonville), Aug. 7, 451.71 pounds
• The Source (Bentonville), Aug. 15, 353.42 pounds
• Acanza (Fayetteville), Sept. 14, 346.19 pounds
• Harvest (Conway), Oct. 11, 218.13 pounds
• Purspirit Cannabis (Fayetteville), Nov. 20, 38.76 pounds
• NEA Full Spectrum (Brookland), Dec. 9, 17.1 pounds