Fort Smith City Leaders Look At Zoning For Medical Marijuana Facilities

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Now that medical marijuana has been legalized in Arkansas, business owners who plan to grow and dispense medical marijuana are looking to set up shop.

Fort Smith Development Services Director Wally Bailey said his office has received inquiries from several wanting to apply for permits.

"I would say we have at least six or so. Six to eight that have made inquiries, have come into the office or made by phone call and wanted to know when, what, how, who," Bailey said.

The deadline for business owners to apply for permits to dispense or grow medical marijuana is currently in June. Right now an extension to change the date to July is before the Senate.

Bailey spoke about how zoning is currently being viewed by state leaders.

"Dispensaries or cultivation facilities could be regulated by local zoning but could not be restricted anymore than what a retail pharmacy is regulated. So, anywhere you might see a retail pharmacy you could potentially see a dispensary or a cultivation facility," he said.

Currently Fort Smith city leaders are speaking to legislators about splitting the two entities.

"Wouldn't it be more appropriate for a cultivation facility which essentially becomes a distribution facility to all the dispensaries, that it might be better that it's not located in a commercial two zoning such as Greenwood Avenue or Grand Avenue or Old Greenwood Road," Bailey said.

City leaders may also look into allowing dispensaries into industrial areas.

The Medical Marijuana Commission is also requiring growers to pay an annual fee of $100,000 in addition to a $15,000 application fee.