Applications to grow and sell medical marijuana, which are due Sept. 18, will be scored using a 100-point scale.
The scores, awarded by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, will determine who receives the five licenses available for cultivation facilities and 32 licenses for dispensaries.
Jake Bleed, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance & Administration, said 50 points depend on how well applicants prove their ability to operate in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.
To comply, businesses must, among other requirements:
- Pass an inspection performed by the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division every six months;
- Enclose their cultivation facility so that the activities within can’t be detected by the public in any way;
- Store the drug in a vault or cabinet that meets certain requirements;
- Have an alarm system that includes cameras;
- Limit advertising and packaging in numerous ways, mostly to avoid exposing children to the drug or to any marketing that appeals to children;
- Not process or manufacture any marijuana item that would be appealing to children;
- Obtain and keep current registry identification cards for anyone involved in the business.
Also, cultivation facilities and dispensaries can transport medical marijuana only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Though cultivation facilities can operate 24 hours a day, dispensaries can be open only from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and deliver marijuana between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Those applying for either license are also expected to submit descriptions of various procedures plus detailed plans for construction of their facility, use of each area in that facility, security, production, testing, quality control, packaging, labeling and disposal.
Another 20 points will be awarded based on the applicant’s business plan and estimated timeline for opening.
The commission will also consider proof of financial stability, worth 10 of the 100 points, and the education and business experience of the applicant, worth another 10 points.
The last 10 of the 100 are “bonus” points that are awarded for projected economic impact, so that locating in less prosperous counties earns the applicant more points; diversity in ownership; having a substance abuse plan; having a compassionate care plan; having a research plan; and how Arkansan the business’ ownership will be.