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Missouri marijuana dispensary raises concerns for Northwest Arkansas police

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PINEVILLE, Mo. (KNWA/KFTA) — Flora Farms is closing its Neosho location and opening a new marijuana dispensary in Pineville, Missouri, on Friday, concerning police in Northwest Arkansas.

The new location at 70 Missouri Lane is less than one mile from the Arkansas border — a state that, unlike the “Show Me State,” does not allow recreational marijuana use. As a result, some Northwest Arkansas police departments are concerned about residents crossing the border to purchase marijuana to bring back to “The Natural State.”

“The state line coincides with almost our city limits, so there is a high traffic on Highway 59 that comes through,” Captain Dana Winn of the Sulphur Springs Police Department said. “So there is a little bit of concern that we’re going to be having Arkansas residents go to Missouri and purchase marijuana.”

Marijuana is legal for Arkansas residents with a medical card. The law states that medical cardholders can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana from a legal dispensary every 14 days.

Cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and severe nausea are among the qualifying conditions for Arkansas residents to obtain a medical marijuana card.

If someone is caught possessing marijuana without a medical card, it is a misdemeanor on the first offense and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Subsequent marijuana offenses are considered a felony in Arkansas.

“If we pull a car over and they happen to have marijuana on them, and they do not have a medical marijuana card, that then leads to an arrest,” Winn said. “That person is then taken to the Benton County Jail, where they would be processed for the charge or charges that they’ve received and posted bond, or possibly issued a citation with a court date if it’s a misdemeanor.”

Winn believes the dispensary’s proximity to the Arkansas state line could result in increased patrol on Highway 59.

“We’ll expect, and I will expect, more traffic stops to be conducted on traffic violations,” Winn said. “And some additional training for the officers in reference to this type of activity going on since it is going to be bordering our state and bordering our city.”

Winn advises people to be truthful and cooperate with law enforcement if they are stopped and suspected of marijuana possession. He said this can lower the number of charges someone can face.

Winn said people considering buying marijuana in Missouri should always “go the legal route.”

“If you go the legal route, then there’s no subsequent offense or subsequent trouble you can get into,” Winn said. “There’s rules. There’s regulations and abide by those.”

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