WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - After being approached about the interest in having a medical marijuana business in the city of Walnut Ridge, Mayor Charles Snapp brought the issue before city council Monday night.
"It is a legal matter and we need to let people know about what is going on," said Snapp. "We cannot hold back information."
Snapp said because state voters legalized medical marijuana last year, the possibility of having medical marijuana cultivation facilities or dispensaries in town is possible no matter who agrees and who doesn't.
"This is a real issue and these businesses could be coming to town if they meet the requirements," said Snapp.
Snapp added that he is happy about the real strict guidelines in place for these businesses but some city residents are opposed with or without the strict rules.
"A few pastors have reached out to me," said Snapp. "Williams Baptist College even sent me an email asking the council to oppose having medical marijuana businesses here but again, if those businesses meet the requirements, there is nothing we can do by law."
The email stated:
"Just a note to register the position of Williams Baptist College on the marijuana issue before the council meets this evening. We very much would disapprove of a facility to dispense or cultivate the drug in our city and would encourage the council to discourage the establishment of such a business in our area.
Though the citizens of Arkansas have approved the marijuana initiative, we believe this allowance to be a detriment to the social fabric of our communities. To introduce the industry to Lawrence County would endorse and validate an immoral cancer, affecting our economy, the quality of life for our children, and the positive growth of our region."
Snapp said the meeting was not about agreeing or disagreeing with the public, but it is about informing them of the possibility.
"What would they think if I had not told them that we had been approached with the possibility," said Snapp. "They would rather know about it now rather than find out about it when the business pops up."
Snapp added that not being informed is a reason why the community of Walnut Ridge has lost opportunities in the past.
"Whether this is an opportunity or whether it is not, we have to have open government to get the town going like we have it and keep it going," said Snapp.
Snapp said if a medical marijuana business met all the state and city requirements, then he and Police Chief Chris Kirksey will have rules in place that would keep those who may possess a medical marijuana card in accordance with the law.
Opening date for the state to receive medical marijuana applications will begin June 30.
Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.