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Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission meeting veterans might have looked around the board room inside the Alcohol Beverage Control Division last week and wondered where the dreamers went. Gone were the cowboy boots and branded T’s, the men (some women, not many) who clearly are interested in marijuana and, if given the chance, the business of growing it and selling it — legally. They were replaced by lawyers and other men and women in suits.
Today the Commission holds what may be its last meeting before the application period begins June 30, if all goes as planned. The five-member body voted to make 32 licenses to retail marijuana available, along with five licenses to grow it on an industrial scale. By all accounts, many more interested parties will apply for the licenses.
One of the veterans is Storm Nolan of Fort Smith, whose family’s business is CSK Hotels, a real estate holdings company — a nice advantage in this competition for a license to grow or sell medical marijuana, since a location to grow marijuana must be set back more than half a mile from any school, daycare or church. (For retailing, it’s 1,500 feet.)
Nolan says he’ll apply for both grow and retail licenses. He’s begun a trade group called the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association — “Arkansas’ Voice for the Medical Marijuana Industry.”
Of the drop in attendance, he says, “Just through the association and all the contacts we’ve made, we’ve known several groups that’ve said, ‘It’s too complicated,’ or, ‘It’s going to be too costly,’ or, ‘It’s just too competitive,’ and they’re bowing out.”
“You know, people are starting to realize exactly how much work this is going to be and how much it’s going to ruin a lot of people’s summer, I’m sure.”