Medical marijuana will hit shelves in Ardmore before Thanksgiving.
The city issued its first dispensary permit to Todd Larkin, co-owner of Pure Wellness CBD. Larkin, himself a veteran and local advocate for medical marijuana, said attaining the permit and paying the $2,500 fee was only the beginning.
“People sometimes think we’ve passed the initiative and now it’s a free for all,” Larkin said. “It’s really not. There’s a lot of work that goes into it not just on our side, but for the city and the state.”
Growers aren’t allowed to start harvesting cannabis for sale until October 26, the day it becomes legal to sell in Oklahoma. Larkin said following that, the cannabis will need to be cured, processed and tested before it’s ready for sale.
“It will be about two weeks after October 26 before product will actually hit shelves,” Larkin said. “So we’re shooting for about the eighth of November.”
Larkin said his store will work with a local grower. The CBD store will stay open for business as usual, with a dispensary set to open right next door. Larkin said he’s upped security significantly in preparation for the new business.
“Security has been a number one priority for us,” Larkin said. “That was one of the first things we did. As far as the stuff the state requires, there’s not a lot of security requirements right now... but just for our personal security.”
Once it’s open for business, customers will enter a small front lobby area and show a photo ID and their medical marijuana card before they’re led back to the sales floor. No one without a permit and ID will even be allowed to stand in the same room with the cannabis.
Once inside, customers might notice a large vent in the center of the ceiling, the most prominent part of the building’s fire prevention measures.
“The concrete, cinderblock building was something we knew would be good for us,” Larkin said. “The metal ceiling is also something they look for.”
Larkin said the city requires a full fire suppression system for dispensaries.
“Fire safety is something they were really concerned with even though…” Larkin said, pausing. “It’s a dispensary. It doesn’t light itself.”
Pure Wellness’ current location wasn’t in violation of local zoning ordinances. According to state laws, dispensaries can’t be within 1,000 feet of a school.
“They eased up over the last month,” Larkin said. “There were some restrictions on day cares, but they eventually changed it to just schools, like the state.”
There are two main kinds of cannabis plants, indica and sativa, which have different effects.
Larkin said the new dispensary will sell strains of both, like super lemon haze, gorilla glue and Willie Nelson among others. The silly names belie their importance, according to Larkin, who said it’s important to carry a variety to meet people’s different needs.
“We’ll have a good selection of both so we can help people with pain issues and also help people with mood issues, PTSD, depression and things like that,” Larkin said.