June 14, 2017 Edition

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WR Council to discuss
medical marijuana

Aubree Hughart
TD Intern

The Walnut Ridge City Council plans to discuss the possibility of medical marijuana businesses coming to town at Monday night's June council meeting.

Mayor Charles Snapp said he has been approached by three marijuana cultivation facilities, as well as one dispensary, interested in the potential of locating in Walnut Ridge.

Snapp decided to bring the topic before the city council because public applications for medical marijuana facilities begin July 1, and he wants the city to be aware of the possibility beforehand.

"I'm just treating this like any other business," said the mayor. "It wouldn't be fair of me not to give them a shot - our residents deserve more jobs and the opportunity for more tax dollars."

If a cultivation facility were to come to town, it could provide up to 55 jobs for residents, as well as major tax revenue.

The law states that cultivation facilities growing marijuana must be located a minimum of 3,000 feet away from churches, schools or daycares. Dispensaries must be 1,500 feet away.

Snapp said given the town's size, it may be impossible for either project to come to town, but he is hopeful. "Adhering to federal regulation, there are a few locations in the city limits where either option could be located," said Snapp. "However, our options are very limited and restricted."

Although one may think the thought of these facilities in Walnut Ridge may raise controversy, Snapp noted that he has heard nothing but a positive response since the city council agenda was released Friday.

"If we were to say 'no' to one of these businesses coming to Walnut Ridge, we could be looking at a lawsuit for discrimination," added Snapp. "As long as they meet the state's requirements, I'm okay with it."

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