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How is Arkansas handling medical marijuana?

Oklahoma legislators are looking at how bringing in medical marijuana may impact the state. (KTUL)

Oklahoma legislators are looking at how bringing in medical marijuana may impact the state.

In November 2018, Oklahoma voters will have their say. But in 2016, Arkansas voters gave medical marijuana the OK.

Channel 8’s I-team went across state lines to see how Arkansas is handing the new business of medical marijuana.

Mulberry is a town of about 1,700 people that has a main street filled with empty store fronts. The closest stop light is more than 10 miles away. In a place where time moves at a slow pace, a new era is coming with the welcoming of a medical marijuana dispensary.

“My first reaction was, what would the people think?” said Mayor Gary Baxter. “I looked at the state of Arkansas, the majority of people voted for medical marijuana.”

Baxter has been working with Corey Hunt who hopes to bring a medical marijuana dispensary to Mulberry by 2018. He hopes it’ll be one of the 30 or so dispensaries approved by the state at the end of 2017.

“You’ve got to make sure your floors, walls and ceilings are all secure,” said Hunt. “You have to make sure no one can just bust into your store.”

Arkansas voters approved strict rules for growing and dispensing medical marijuana, including limiting the number of people who can do either.

“I’ll tell you what, the Arkansas medical cannabis program is regulated from seed to consumption,” said Hunt.

The marijuana will be tested by independent labs for any chemicals or issues. The Arkansas pot industry will be regulated by multiple government agencies, including a newly formed "Marijuana Board."

“I’m going to frame this too, I’m proud of this too,” said Roger Halpin, while holding up a letter from the state of Arkansas that said he qualified for a medical marijuana card.

Patients who get the approval from the state will be issued a card that’s valid for a year.

“I have a medical recommendation from the doctor,” said Halpin. “The four check marks are indicating the conditions I have.”

“People are coming for this medical marijuana are people that are hurting, they are not wanting to get high, they are wanting relief from their pain,” said Baxter.

Baxter believes the dispensary will be helping his town.

“We feel like yes, this can bring other development," he said.

Mulberry is at a literal crossroads in America. It’s surrounded by Interstate 40 and the Arkansas River. Though the small town may just be an exit along the highway, folks in Mulberry hope it’ll soon be a place to stop and stay.

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