COTTON PLANT, Ark. (THV11) — For Arkansas patients who have waited more than two years to purchase medical marijuana, rows of cannabis plants growing inside a Woodruff County facility provide renewed hope that relief could be near.
“There are a lot of folks that ask and they’ve been asking when it’s going to be ready,” Robert Lercher, director of customer relations for BOLD Team Cultivation, said.
On Friday, Feb. 1, BOLD invited THV11 into its facility outside Cotton Plant, where the state’s first legal medical marijuana plants have been growing since early January.
“The building is outfitted with computerized lights, curtains, fans and irrigation drips, which keep plants in prime condition for growth,” Lercher said.
BOLD plans to harvest its first plants at the end of April and have product on dispensary shelves in early May, Lercher said.
“Just seeing all the patients that have waited so long for it – we are doing everything we could to met the timelines we had set,” he said.
BOLD is one of five companies licensed by the state to grow cannabis under the medical marijuana program approved by voters in November 2016.
On Friday, Scott Hardin, spokesperson for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, said the other four facilities are at various stages of construction. Osage Creek Cultivation in Berryville could be cleared to begin production within several weeks – pending results of a state inspection – he said.
“It’s now simply a question of how fast can the dispensaries open their doors for business,” Hardin said.
As of Friday, 29 of 32 dispensaries had paid the $15,000 fee and posted a $100,000 performance bond, allowing them to start construction.
“I think we’re still hopeful that by April you’ll still see a very limited number [of dispensaries] open their doors – maybe three to four – and then as we move into spring and summer that’s really going to start taking off,” Hardin said.
As BOLD waits for it plants to mature, Lercher said the company is focused on growing relationships with dispensaries aimed at ensuring swift availability of cannabis.
“There’s different folks all throughout this industry here in Arkansas, but we all share one common goal and that’s to get the patients their medicine they’ve been so patiently waiting for,” Lercher said.