The first legal medical marijuana dispensary in state history is now open in Arkansas.
It took 2.5 years after voters legalized the medicine, but Arkansas’ first medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors on Saturday, reports the Associated Press.
Doctor’s Orders RX in Hot Springs was the first dispensary to be officially licensed by the state, and it is currently the only one operating. It sold marijuana to a patient Friday to test its software and officially opened Saturday.
Two and a half years after Arkansans voted to legalize medical marijuana, qualifying patients could begin buying the product Saturday morning when the state’s first dispensary opened, though the celebratory mood was dampened by confusion about operating hours and fears the dispensary wouldn’t be able to serve all the patients by closing time, states the AP.
Doctor’s Orders RX in Hot Springs was the first dispensary to be officially licensed by the state and is currently the only one operating. It sold marijuana to a patient Friday to test its software and officially opened Saturday.
As of Thursday, the Arkansas Health Department had approved medical marijuana cards for more than 11,700 residents.
Doctor’s Orders RX owner Don Sears said in a statement Friday that “processing schedules are unpredictable and out of our control,” and warned patients to expect long lines and limited product.
Eventually, employees allowed in, one at a time, patients who had been at the dispensary Friday and had been registered in the system. Those who’d camped out since before sunrise expressed frustration.
At about 9:20 a.m., people cheered as an employee let in Gerard Wimer, a 38-year-old construction worker from Jacksonville who takes hydrocodone for back pain and arthritis and who was first in line. After he saw on the Friday night news the dispensary was opening, he drove down with a tent to camp out, though he ended up sleeping in his truck. Behind him stood his retired mother, 67-year-old Gena Hunter, whose spot he saved.
After around 10 minutes, Wimer left the facility carrying a paper bag that contained half an ounce of medical marijuana, which cost $220, he said.
Hunter, who followed her son out, said the employees were courteous and helped her choose strains good for her neuropathy and arthritis. She got a quarter ounce each of “Blue Dream” and “Cookies and Chem.”
“I have no idea what that means,” she said.
Wimer said his experience was “pretty easy,” but that he would try Green Springs Medical next time, when he hopes prices come down. Still, he was glad he came.
“It means maybe I won’t have to be taking pain pills,” Wimer said. “I’m excited. I’m very excited.”