Budding beat 

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The Arkansas Times debuts this week Cannabiz, a new column devoted to the ins and outs of the burgeoning medical marijuana industry in Arkansas. Tips? Write arktimes@arktimes.com.

The map above, from the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, shows the locations of cultivation facility and dispensary applications received by the commission broken down by zone. The zones were drawn according to population, though they may not correlate with the need for medical marijuana. In Zone 1, the highest number of both cultivation (7) and dispensary (17) applications were in Washington County. There were no cultivation applications from Benton County and no dispensary applications from Madison County. In Zone 2, cultivation applications came from only Izard (1), Searcy (1) and Van Buren (2) counties; all counties except Newton and Searcy had dispensary applications, with Boone, Cleburne, Stone and Van Buren having the highest number at three each. In Zone 3, Jackson County had the highest number of cultivation applications (8), and Crittenden had the highest number of dispensary applications (15). In Zone 4, Sebastian County had the highest number of both cultivation applications (3) and dispensary applications (11). Logan had none. In Zone 5, Pulaski County had both the highest number of cultivation applications (9) and dispensary applications (26); Faulkner County had the second highest dispensary applications (12). In Zone 6, Garland County had the highest number of both cultivation (3) and dispensary (22) applications; the number of dispensary applications filed were the highest among the zones. In Zone 7, Jefferson County had both the highest cultivation (13) and dispensary (8) applications; its cultivation applications were the highest among the zones. In Zone 8, Miller County had both the highest cultivation applications (3) and the highest dispensary applications (6); the zone had the lowest total of dispensary applications (16 total) among the zones. Total figures were 95 applications for cultivation and 228 for dispensary. At its October meeting, the commission found 27 applications for cultivation unverifiable for lack of information and 58 applications for dispensaries unverifiable for the same reason. Lawsuits on behalf of the unverified applicants for both cultivation and dispensaries against the commission were filed under aliases Oct. 26 by Alex T. Gray of the Steel, Wright, Gray & Hutchinson law firm, calling the denials of the licenses "arbitrary and capricious." The commission plans to award five licenses for cultivation to 32 licenses for dispensaries.

One of the first print publications in the state dedicated to medical cannabis will hit the streets later this month. Ounce Magazine is edited by Corey Hunt, who also runs the popular medical marijuana-based website and Facebook group Illegally Healed (illegallyhealed.com) and who has applied for a license to run a dispensary in Mulberry. It will be published quarterly. Creative director Shannon Anderson, who was heavily involved in the push for medical marijuana in the state, said the initial run of Ounce will be 5,000 copies at 32 pages, but they hope to double both the print run and the page count with the next issue. Anderson said advertising sales for the first issue have been "robust." The magazine will be distributed for free in doctor's offices, restaurants and retail stores across the state. They also hope to distribute on college campuses, pending approval. Much of the content of the first issue was gleaned from the recent archives of Illegally Healed, which has over 400,000 likes on Facebook and routinely publishes profiles and articles written by those involved in the medical cannabis industry. Anderson said they hope to make the focus of Ounce more on Arkansas in upcoming issues, including profiling an Arkansas patient helped by medical cannabis in every issue. The magazine is going to the printer this week, and Anderson said copies should be ready to distribute around the middle of November.


Speaking of Cannabis, Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission

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