LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A medical marijuana company with Natural State roots hopes to become one of its first growers and sellers.
After spending hundreds of hours on applications, Natural State of Kind submitted ones for both a cultivation facility and dispensary license Wednesday.
"There's nothing about this industry that's easy," said CEO Jason Martin.
Martin and his partners started their first company in 2015. Two years later, they are operating in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Kentucky and North Carolina.
"Not everybody that's in the industry has our same goals and moral compass," he said. "We've been taken advantage of. It's been an expensive lesson to get where we are today."
Martin said the most difficult part about doing business out of state has been finding local partners they trust with their money and products. The CEO has a feeling that won't happen in his home state.
"We know everybody," he said. "We know our neighbors. We know who we can trust."
Martin and the rest of the owners of Natural State of Kind live in central Arkansas.
They hope to build a dispensary from the ground up in zone five, a flagship location for the growing company.
"Nothing like anything that we've done in any other states," Martin said. "Something that we can certainly be proud of, that our friends and family members can be proud of and the state of Arkansas can be proud of."
The company picked out a more rural location for its cultivation facility.
"It's basically retrofitting a warehouse," Martin said. "We can do that with a modular system that we use. We can do that in a quick period of time."
Martin said time is of the essence so patients depending on the medical marijuana business can get help at home.
"Nothing gives me greater joy than to change somebody's life that's been dealing with something for a very long period of time," he said.
Martin said he and his partners didn't run into any issues during the state's lengthy application process.
The submission deadline for the 32 dispensary and five cultivation licenses is Sept. 18.
Martin said his company turned in their application almost three weeks early because they felt it was ready but still have a ten-day grace period to make any changes.
Natural State of Kind is the first group to publicly announce its submissions.
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