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story.lead_photo.caption File Photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE Residents wait in line Saturday at Acanza, the first medical marijuana dispensary in Fayetteville, opens for the first time.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The city's first medical marijuana dispensary served 375 people its opening weekend, the owner said.

"I'm just grateful we can provide the relief to these patients," said Randi Hernandez, owner of Acanza, 2733 N. McConnell Ave.

Medical marijuana registry card

To qualify for a registry card to legally purchase medical marijuana, one must:

• Be 18 or older or be a minor patient with parental consent

• Be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition

• Have the official written certification from a physician

• Be an Arkansas resident with proof of residency

State law prohibits members of the Arkansas National Guard and U.S. military from obtaining a registry ID card.

Qualifying medical conditions:

• Cancer

• Glaucoma

• Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome

• Hepatitis C

• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS

• Tourette’s syndrome

• Crohn’s disease

• Ulcerative colitis

• Post-traumatic stress disorder

• Severe arthritis

• Fibromyalgia

• Alzheimer’s disease

• Cachexia or wasting syndrome

• Peripheral neuropathy

• Intractable pain, which is pain not responding to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six months

• Severe nausea

• Seizures, including without limitation those characteristic of epilepsy

• Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including without limitation those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

• And, any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the Department of Health

Sources: Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration

The dispensary opened Saturday and had a steady stream of customers throughout the weekend, she said.

Acanza sold about 10 pounds of medical marijuana as of Tuesday morning, said Scott Hardin, spokesman at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Rebecca Barry, 51, of Fayetteville said she bought medical marijuana Tuesday to treat her insomnia and fibromyalgia, she said.

"For me, it's life-changing because, without it, I would be on disability, or I would be buying it off the streets," she said.

Barry said she feels safe buying from a dispensary because the marijuana is regulated, and she isn't worried about what might be in it.

Other medications caused allergic reactions and side effects, including depression, she said.

Acanza is Northwest Arkansas' third dispensary to open and the ninth in the state.

The region's first dispensary, The ReLeaf Center, opened Aug. 7 on McNelly Road in Bentonville. Another dispensary, The Source, opened Aug. 15 on Razorback Drive in Bentonville. ReLeaf and The Source were the seventh and eighth dispensaries to open in the state.

ReLeaf served an estimated 287 customers its opening day, while The Source had about 160 customers on opening day.

Acanza offers medical marijuana in its traditional form as well as concentrated oils and edibles. Its products come from Bold Team in Cotton Plant and Natural State Medicinals Cultivation in White Hall, Hernandez said.

The dispensary is the first phase of the business, Hernandez said. She has plans for Acanza to also be a cultivation site and processor.

A patient or caregiver ID card is necessary to buy medical marijuana products.

More than 22,000 people in the state had the cards as of Friday, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Another dispensary, Purspirit Cannabis, is projected to open by Nov. 1 at 3390 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., a representative of the company has said.

NW News on 09/17/2019

Print Headline: Fayetteville medical pot dispensary sees 375 patients opening weekend

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