FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers will be popping up around Arkansas this year, and it's expected to create hundreds of jobs. A training event is coming up to educate people interested in working in the industry.
"A whole lot goes into a dispensary, and so we're really anticipating maybe 1,500 jobs being created directly from this," said Corey Hunt.
Hunt is a board member of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association. In less than three weeks, they will be holding the first official training event.
"We hope this will allow people to professionally and compassionately deal with patients from grandmas with cancer to kids with seizures," Hunt said.
The ACIA's medical marijuana dispensary agent training will take place at the DoubleTree Fort Smith City Center on Jan. 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $149.
The day will be filled with educational presentations including tips for job seekers, understanding patients medical needs and even a Skype session with filmmaker Zach Klein who documented the use of medical pot Israel.
"We're going to have experts there that are going to be teaching you what kind of jobs are available and how to really get involved in the industry," Hunt said.
Hunt not only serves on the ACIA board; he's also one of 227 applicants wanting to open a dispensary of his own.
"In 2013, I lost someone I loved to breast cancer, and I started researching different cancer treatments and cancer cures and I kept coming across marijuana, which I now call cannabis," he said.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will select five applicants to grow medical cannabis in a cultivation center and 32 to sell it.
"Regardless if we win a facility in Mulberry, we're going forward with this," Hunt said. "We have a large community here in Arkansas that are relying on us to help them."
The five cultivation centers will be announced on Feb. 27. The dispensaries will be awarded in April or May.
You must be 21 or older to work in the industry and you cannot have any felonies. For a full list of regulations, click here.
Hunt also founded Ounce, which is the first magazine in Arkansas to focus on medical cannabis patients, industry and legislation.