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JONESBORO, Ark. – The train wreck that has been Arkansas’ adoption of medical marijuana continues with the news Wednesday that three dispensaries for NEA will be in the same town while none are in Jonesboro – the largest community in the zone.
A new opening for a dispensary in Zone 3 was revealed after one of the initial top scoring companies, The Valentine Group, chose to build in a different zone. Next in line would have been Grassroots OPCO. It chose Ward instead of Hardy. Companies which scored in multiple zones had to pick one.
So, as it stands, the dispensaries for NEA are as follows:
THC RX, Inc. (West Memphis)
Delta Cannabis Co. (West Memphis)
Comprehensive Care Group (West Memphis)
NEA Full Spectrum (Rector)
The news was of concern to many in the medical marijuana community in Jonesboro and “Zone 3,” which is NEA. Arkansas Progressive Medicine’s Dr. Dane Flippin told NEA Report he had alerted the MMJ Commission to make him aware of the situation. Flippin was concerned for patients who have waited for so long for care in the area.
“As it currently stands, if things play out the way we think they’re going to play out, the people of Jonesboro will have to drive almost an hour to get to the nearest dispensary,” Flippin said Wednesday.
The next highest scoring dispensary after the one’s on the list which is in the Jonesboro metropolitan area is AR Green Spirit, LLC. Wayde Robertson is the managing owner. He was first learning of the news when we contacted him.
“I think that would probably be too many for West Memphis,” chuckled Robertson.
Robertson said a dispensary in Jonesboro would be a big difference to those who need medicinal cannabis.
“A lot of the people that need it are elderly and would not be able to make that journey to wherever they have to go outside of Jonesboro,” Robertson said. “In Jonesboro, they can take a taxi if they can’t get to an area. With Jonesboro being the largest metropolitan in this area, I just figured Jonesboro would have at least two dispensaries. But apparently there not going to have any, which is a real shame.”
Both Flippin and Robertson said they thought a fifth dispensary in Zone 3 may be needed to provide balance for those in need. With patients having waited several years already, Robertson fears it will mean more will suffer.
“I just know a lot of people are suffering,” Robertson said. “I know, personally, a lot of people are suffering and trying to get away from opioids, right? They are anxiously awaiting medical marijuana to be available in Jonesboro. They’ve waited so long, I think they would be very disappointed to know it would not be readily available in Jonesboro or in the Northeast Arkansas area. It would be 60 miles or more from there, it sounds like. I think it would be a tremendous disappointment for a lot of people. This medicine takes care of about 13 different diseases. It would help a lot.”