ARKANSAS - Medical marijuana is big business in Arkansas. It has been available for four months and already has generated more than $8 million.
Even the naysayers can’t deny it’s a lucrative industry.
“The people elected to have the dispensaries here, and I’m at the will of the people. I’m open for it.”
West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon said he was never opposed to the medical marijuana industry coming to Arkansas.
However, after seeing how much money it’s bringing in, he’s getting more and more eager for three dispensaries to open in his city in the near future.
FOX13 asked, “As the Mayor of West Memphis, when you see those numbers rolling in, does it excite you.”
“Definitely I’m excited about the tax base because I’ve talked with my council about possibly using those dollars towards transportation in the City of West Memphis,” Mayor McClendon responded.
On May 10, Doctors Orders in Hot Springs became the first dispensary to sell medical marijuana in Arkansas.
Since then, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission reported dispensaries have sold 1,130 pounds of pot, generating $8.1 million. 10.5% of that goes to the state, while the local taxes stay in-town.
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“It’s definitely going to be big for West Memphis because of our close proximity to Memphis, Tennessee,” McClenton added.
Two groups have already submitted ballot initiatives to get recreational marijuana on the 2020 ballot in Arkansas.
We asked McClendon if the figures he’s seen rolling in for medical marijuana have impacted his feelings on recreational pot and the money it could bring in. He explained he was going to need to see more information.
“Money can’t be the factor of every decision you make. I think the way it’s been done for medical marijuana, I think it’s going to be very lucrative. As long as the recreational is done the right way.”
McClendon said West Memphis hasn’t seen any increase in crime since medical marijuana became available.
Crittenden County Prosecutor, Scott Ellington told us based on conversations with Colorado prosecutors, his concern is for public safety.
Ellington said because there’s no way to breathalyze for marijuana and get a reading on when they last took the drug and whether or not they’re under the influence, it’s going to be difficult to prosecute DUI cases involving marijuana.
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