FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Entrepreneurs and brothers Storm Nolan and Kane Whitt plan to open a medical marijuana cultivation center on E. Street in Fort Smith.
The 83,000 square foot warehouse has been shut down for quite some time. The brothers plan to invest in the property on the Poteau River and in the industrial historic area of downtown.
"We will probably have 30 well paid people working here and in a variety of roles. From actually attending to the plants, to the trimming of the buds and the processing it into oils, waxes and products that are then used for eatables such as cookies lozenges or things of that sort for patients," Nolan said.
Opening the facility is more than a business move to join the medical marijuana movement for the partners.
"Our mom struggled for a long time with opioid addiction and she was originally prescribed them to treat chronic pain. She lost the battle to addiction," Nolan said. "If there was any other option for her that would have treated the pain but had been less addictive and less destructive it would had been a godsend."
The brothers still have to apply for a cultivation license in July. It will likely be October before the state grants any licensing.
According to legislation, only five medical marijuana cultivation centers will be allowed to open in the state of Arkansas.
The state has also put tight restrictions and applying for a license such as having a location picked out, an operation plan in place and secured funding.
"You can't really get bank financing because it's illegal federally so we are funding this out of pocket," Nolan said.
The partners also discussed security measures.
"If we are lucky enough to get our license we are not going to have a big medical marijuana sign on the building. It is going to be very low key," Nolan said. "The state, that is one of their big concerns setting this up right. So, what we will have here is a very tall fence.That will be our first layer of security. The entire building will be surrounded by security cameras that are monitored off site with a feed that the state police will be able to see. All the entrances will have bio-metric security. Meaning, you will use your fingerprint to get in so you can't fake it by stealing someone's access card."