FULTON COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - The Hardy City Council voted in late December to annex land where Spring River Dispensary is being built.
That dispensary opened Friday, January 8.
Sonja Kaselaan, manager of the facility says the response from the community has been overwhelming.
“I couldn’t even explain how excited I am [for the opening],” she said. “I think we all have ants in our pants across the board, but we’re ready to see what the community gives back to us.”
The dispensary held a preregistration event at the facility for two days before the event, where nearly 300 people signed up to get in the building quicker on opening day.
“I’m really just trying to get everyone in the door and get them preregistered so we can make sure they’re not waiting out in the cold,” Kaselaan said. “It’s more to just have a smooth transition into our live opening.”
The preregistration included patients providing copies of medical cards and other necessary personal information. Kaselaan says she wants to be sure the first day is as smooth as possible.
“Just be patient with us,” she said. “We’re all getting started and all new to this and we’re really just here for the feedback. I’m trying to meet the expectations of the patients the best that we can, being that we’re so new.”
The state-of-the-art dispensary for medical marijuana is one of the few dispensaries in northeast Arkansas.
The $1.5 million project had been under construction since mid-September.
The facility will feature room to grow 200 plants in a secure area separated from the dispensary. Over $100,000 was spent on the dispensary’s security, with biometrics used at each entry point. To enter the facility, you’ll need a cannabis ID.
Those who led the way in the construction, including Sharp County coroner Renee Clay-Circle and longtime pharmacist Kathy Cooper, asked the city of Hardy to annex the property.
At a meeting earlier this month, city officials said the situation provided a great opportunity for the community.
“There’s no one between our city limits,” Ernie Rose, Mayor of Hardy said. “This new annexation [will] be about 80 acres of ground brought into the city limits.”
Mayor Rose and the City of Hardy followed suit and the process to annex the land began. He says the city has done everything they’ve needed to do, but now it is in the hands of Fulton County Judge Gary Clayton.
“[Sharp County Judge Gene Moore] is reviewing,” Rose said. “He will sign an order and it’ll come back to the city and the city council will meet and pass a resolution, an ordinance, then it will go back to the Fulton County Judge.”
Rose said at the earlier meeting the dispensary will be a tremendous asset to the area.
“There’s no question about any new business coming in is going to bring a tax revenue in for us,” Rose said. “We look forward to the extra traffic coming and going.”
The next step involves getting it approved by Fulton County officials as well as the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office.
The dispensary will be open Mondays through Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.