CLINTON (KATV) — At the height of the wait, the line was roughly two-dozen deep at the grand opening of Arkansas Natural Products in Clinton on Thursday; the first medical marijuana dispensary to open in Arkansas outside of Garland County.
Carmaleta McMurray exited the dispensary around 1:15 p.m. to clapping and cheers, the first person to make a purchase at the Van Buren County dispensary.
"I'm very excited," said McMurray. "We've been waiting two-and-a-half years for this."
McMurray, who claimed the Mountain View-area as home, said she was the first in line on Thursday, staking her spot by 7 a.m.
The lines, much shorter than the lines when medical cannabis sales began in May, were largely attributed to a small-hiccup with the dispensary's product tracking software communicating with the state's server. While ANP was supposed to open at 10:00 AM, the tracking system issues weren't resolved until close to 1 p.m.
"The last time I can think of a line this long for an opening of a business in Van Buren County would be Walmart," said Dale James, Van Buren County Judge, who came to check out the business on its opening day.
"The question of right and wrong was answered at the ballot box - Van Buren County overwhelmingly supported the initiative at the ballot box - so it's fitting that we have a storefront that sells medical marijuana," said James, giving a somewhat 'politically correct' answer to the question of whether Van Buren County was excited for the dispensary to open.
Some waiting to make a purchase on Thursday had already put their medical marijuana patient cards to work at least one of the two other dispensaries that are already operational in Arkansas. But others like fibromyalgia patient Jessica Rooney, were waiting for a shorter drive.
"I think a lot of people were waiting for something closer. I know a lot of people that have to have it and just can't make that drive. So it's going to make a big difference for a lot of people," said Rooney.
The Greenbrier-resident was number 17 in line to get inside ANP. Rooney said she was excited to purchase some edibles and said she planned to buy some 'flowers' as well.
Prices at Arkansas Natural Products were comparatively much higher compared to black market prices, even more expensive than the dispensaries in Garland County. Anyone of the strains they had available for purchase ran $450 an ounce - a five pack of grape-flavored gummy discs cost $23.
"I think the prices are okay. Hopefully, they'll come down a little bit. I think supply and demand will help a lot," said Rooney.
According to the Department of Finance & Administration, Arkansas Natural Products had sold over a pound of medical marijuana in their first three-hours of sales, with nearly $8,700 in sales by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Two more medical marijuana dispensaries could open by the end of the month. Alcohol Beverage Control agents were on site at Greenlight Dispensary in Helena-West Helena on Thursday conducting the final inspection there. There's no word on how the inspection went. ABC agents are expected in Pulaski County next Tuesday at Native Green Wellness in Hensley to conduct their final inspection.