Zero applicants for medical marijuana cultivation centers or dispensaries
The application process to be one of five medical marijuana cultivation centers and 52 dispensaries opend July 1st, but more than a month later, no one has applied.
"This application process is detailed. It's asking for a lot of information," said Department of Finance and Administration Spokesperson Scott Hardin.
However, the dificulty is not causing the delay according to Melissa Fults. She travels the state giving seminars to help would-be businesses navigate the paperwork.
"I'm like 'What's the deal? All I've heard from y'all is that you can't wait to apply for it,' and they went 'Nobody wants to be the first'," said Fults.
Some worry submitting an application early could allow others insight into a winning business plan. Others worry about bias against the first applicant. However, Fults says there is no shortage of interest at her seminars, and she expects a flood of applications to be submitted the week before the deadline.
"We are ready to process a very large number of applications," said Hardin.
Beyond the businesses, Fults says the biggest roadblock she's encountering is with medical providers.
"People are saying 'What can I do? I've talked to my doctor. they won't sign it. they say they're afraid that their license will be in jeopardy or their business will be in jeopardy'," said Fults.
So far, The Arkansas Department of Health has issued 535 medical marijuana cards.
"We can't get doctors to sign the certifications. That's what they're worried about more than the dispensaries and cultivation centers," said Fults.
Only 11 doctors in the state have self-identified as being willing to sign a certification.