Two tables of bongs, pipes and other marijuana paraphernalia drew a steady line of curious consumers Wednesday morning at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
“Do you smoke marijuana? What’s your favorite way to smoke it?” Marc Wein of Mama P’s Wholesome Grinding Co. in Spicewood, Texas, asked nearly every person filing by his booth during the opening hours of Arkansas’ first convention dedicated to medical marijuana.
“We’re a 12-time winner of High Times‘ Cannabis Cup for smoking accessories and the only truly American-made accessory manufacturer in the U.S.,” the tie-dye-wearing Wein added in a rapid-fire burst of words.
Across the convention hall, representatives of Edibles magazine touted the publication along with an assortment of cannabis-related gummy rings and trail mix while two Conway men nearby solicited members for their newly formed Arkansas Hemp Association.
Those vendors joined about four dozen others as part of the Ark-La-Tex Cannabis Business Expo. The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association is sponsoring the two-day event to bring businesses and potential consumers together as the state edges closer to implementing a medical-marijuana program approved by voters in November 2016.
Under the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, the state will license 32 dispensaries and five cultivation facilities. The five cultivators — out of 95 applicants — will be announced Feb. 27. The state received 227 applications for the dispensaries, and the winners of those licenses likely won’t be announced until late April.
Some two dozen speakers were lined up by the event’s organizer, Imperious Expo of Tyler, Texas, to speak individually or as part of guest panels on such topics as high-tech security for cultivators and dispensaries; marketing; cannabis research, and the latest on federal laws’ clash with the 29 states that have approved medical marijuana, recreational marijuana or both.
The convention ends today about 5 p.m.