LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — – (via KARK) — County officials are weeding out their concerns over the Natural State’s medical marijuana facilities as future growers and sellers continue to work on their applications.
During a seminar at the 49th annual conference of the Association of Arkansas Counties Thursday, officials from every corner of the state still had a hard time wrapping their minds around something voters passed back in November.
“Everybody in this room agreed to medical marijuana,” St. Rep. Doug House, R-North Little Rock, told a standing room-only crowd.
“No,” some said.
“Yes, you did,” House replied. “In second grade, you decided if we had a vote, whatever got the most votes wins.”
The groans that followed from county judges, sheriffs, clerks and more made it clear medical marijuana is only making some headaches worse.
“Will law enforcement have any say-so when it comes to approving or disproving an application?,” Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck asked the panel.
Mary Robin Casteel, the director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control, told him no.
However, counties do have a say whether one of the state’s 32 dispensaries and five cultivation facilities can set up shop in their neighborhood.
“The one that came to ask for the application, I couldn’t give them my letter of support, I couldn’t support it,” said Searcy County Judge Jim Harness. “Because it failed by 170-something votes in the county so the people, that’s not what they want. As county judge, I have to support them.”
Harness said he hears the same complaint from his citizens: “Just the abuse of the money.”
No banks have come forward yet to represent the future licensees, but Rep. House, who crafted the state’s medical marijuana legislation, told the crowd one could soon raise its hand.
House said the dispensaries would create about 30 jobs each, while cultivation facilities