Edible marijuana set to roll out this week
HOT SPRINGS — Less than a week after Arkansas medical marijuana dispensaries officially opened their doors, patients who would rather eat their pot than smoke it will soon have their chance, with products hitting dispensary shelves by the end of this week.
Dr. Janice Williams said for patients who have some severe symptoms, smoking medical marijuana may not even be an option. She said those patients may need something like a topical or edibles.
“With edibles the onset of action takes a little longer, but then it last longer,” Williams said. “So, it can get them through a night of pain where they don’t have to get up and re-dose” Williams said she believes the edibles are a better product for most patients now that they are close to being available.
Voters approved a medical marijuana amendment in 2016. Only two dispensaries, both in Hot Springs, are open and only one cultivator has harvested a crop, though two others expect to harvest their own this summer.
As of Tuesday night, the two dispensaries, Doctor’s Orders RX and Green Springs Medical, had sold more than 26 pounds of the drug in its flower form and totaled sales of around $177,000.
Advocates say edibles are a more controlled way to consume the drug and think demand is high, but cultivators and dispensaries are limited in what kinds they can manufacture and how they can package them, said Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin.
According to rules by the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which regulates medical marijuana, cultivators and dispensaries can’t process or manufacture edibles that are “likely to appeal to minors,” which includes “candy, cookies, and brownies.” Edibles also can’t be modeled after foods primarily consumed by or marketed to children, or be in familiar shapes like animals, vehicles or characters.
PARAGOULD — Paragould police arrested a substitute teacher after they say she had “inappropriate sexual contact” with a student.
Officers arrested Stephanie M. Ricker, 35, on Wednesday, May 15, on suspicion of second-degree sexual assault.
According to the probable cause affidavit, the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline received a referral on April 30 regarding a substitute teacher having sex with a male student.
The next day an investigator with the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division interviewed the student.
The student reportedly told the detective he and Ricker had been “talking via Snapchat and text message.”
“He stated that they had met on at least two occasions and had sexual intercourse on at least one occasion while she was a teacher in his class,” the court document stated.
Detective Rhonda Thomas confirmed through employment records that Ricker worked for an undisclosed school as a paraprofessional between Feb. 18 and April 4.
“The potential defendant worked as a paraprofessional the entire time in the male student’s class,” Thomas stated in the probable cause affidavit.
During questioning on May 15, Thomas said Ricker “gave a self-incriminating statement.”
After reviewing the affidavit, Greene County District Judge Daniel Stidham found probable cause to arrest Ricker. He set her bond at $35,000 and ordered her to have no contact with the student.
Ricker will be arraigned on June 21 at 8:30 a.m. in circuit court.
Early forecast good for Memorial Day Weekend
LITTLE ROCK — While spring storms could bring more rain to Arkansas this week, the preliminary forecast for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend is looking bright. The National Weater Service’s Little Rock office is calling for sunshine and high temperatures in the upper 80s and lower 90s Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with only a 20 percent chance of rain on Sunday.