Medical marijuana industry in Arkansas faces setback

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. - For patients with certain illnesses looking to use medical marijuana, doctors don't actually give them a prescription.

Dr. Greg Kresse, a family physician in Eureka Springs, said, "What the physician would do is he would provide a medical record that would say, and he would sign it, saying this individual has multiple sclerosis."

Not many doctors in Arkansas are willing to provide that.

Kresse said, "My partner has a clinic on the side where people who have other physicians that have the proper medical condition, he will certify them."

The patient must then take that document to the state health department to get a card to purchase medical marijuana. Those cards are useless right now because there's nowhere in the state to buy the drug.

But Kresse is in a group trying to open a dispensary in Eureka Springs.

"It provides a tax base," he said. "It provides a certain amount of jobs, but basically it provides access to the people that voted for the constitutional amendment to provide medical marijuana."

Recently five groups throughout the state were chosen by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission to open cultivation centers.

Although a group in Berryville was approved to grow medical marijuana, there’s been a setback.

A state judge ruled the licensing process was unconstitutional after one of the groups who didn't make the top 5 filed a lawsuit.

"The thing about the process you understand is you may not get it, and probably won't, statistically won't. And we accepted that going into the process," Kresse said.

It is unclear how and if the judge's ruling will affect the commission's decision to license dispensaries, which was scheduled for early summer.

The Arkansas attorney general's office has not stated if it will appeal the judge's decision to the state supreme court.