HOT SPRINGS, Ar. (KARK) – Medical marijuana sales are rolling in after a busy opening weekend for two dispensaries in the Spa City.
The first medical marijuana sale was made Friday night at Doctor’s Orders RX, more than two and a half years since voters legalized it.
After a soft opening Sunday for nearly 150 patients, Green Springs Medical officially kicked off its sales Monday with hundreds pouring in from every corner of the state to purchase the product.
“It’s a festive atmosphere,” said patient Kelli Helms. “It’s fun. We just made a little outing out of it.”
Helms drove about three hours from Fayetteville to the state’s second dispensary to treat her peripheral neuropathy, a side effect of being cancer free.
“They were able to get most of it by surgery, but the chemotherapy that I had damaged all my nerves,” she said.
After years of waiting, three hours in line was nothing.
“Relief,” she said. “Maybe not as much as later but relief.”
Helms paid about $220 for half an ounce, the max the dispensary will currently sell per patient, with about $30 going to the state in taxes.
“It’s a little high,” she said.
Others drove across town to Doctor’s Orders to fill the max set by the state, 2.5 ounces every two weeks, which currently costs more than $1,000.
“The price is very high now,” said patient Baron Crane. “I think it’ll balance out as more of the cultivators come on board.”
Crane also anticipates more forms of the product to become available soon. But for now, he plans to smoke it, while Helms will make her own.
“I’m a baker by trade so I have a lot of recipes I’m anxious to try out,” she said.
Medical marijuana in Arkansas is currently a cash-only business. Attorneys general from dozens of states, including Arkansas, recerntly signed a letter asking Congress to support legislation that would permit legal marijuana businesses to work with financial institutions.
According to Scott Hardin, the spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Doctor’s Orders made 868 transactions totaling 10.8 pounds from its first sale Friday evening to Monday afternoon.
From its first sale Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon, Green Springs Medical made 269 transactions totaling 2.9 pounds. Hardin clarified each transaction represents the purchase of one strain, which means if a patient purchases multiple strains that counts as multiple transactions.