Arkansas’ Alcohol Beverage Control Division has received at least forty applications for requests to open medical marijuana dispensaries in northeast Arkansas over the course of next year. Lead Pharmacist Mike Soo of Parker Road Pharmacy in Jonesboro says he looks forward to the benefits that opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Jonesboro will provide to his patients with chronic pain, and addictions to prescription medications.
“There’s a lot of people that inquired about it,” says Soo. “Several of my customers have already got their card already. So I think it’s gonna help a lot of people. With the opioid crisis.”
Soo and his business partner Dave Eddington are awaiting approval from the Arkansas Beverage Commission to begin construction for a 4800-sq. foot state of the art medical marijuana dispensary. To be located at 6200 East Highland Drive in Jonesboro. However, it could be April of next year or later before they know if they can begin construction.
As far as using medical marijuana to combat the opioid addiction crisis, Captain Kevin Russell of the Benton Police Department is against it. Russell says simply giving patients the option to trade one bad habit for another.
“I think the path forward to reducing opioid overdoses is a mix of things.", says Russell. "Prescription drug monitoring programs. Which we just introduced a mandatory program in Arkansas this year. And drug take backs.”
The Alcohol Beverage Control Division will review over three hundred applications statewide before making determinations. Patients will be allowed to use their medical marijuana cards a month before the medical marijuana dispensaries are set to open.