UPDATED: Fayetteville considers allowing retail in industrial areas for medical marijuana dispensaries

City Council members last month voted to sell 5 acres in south Fayetteville’s Commerce District to a man who plans to build a medical marijuana growing facility if he’s approved for a cultivation license from the state later this year.

Fayetteville planning staff

UPDATE: This ordinance passed unanimously on June 20.

Fayetteville City Council members this week will consider allowing retail activity inside the city’s industrial areas.

The idea was proposed in response to the voter-approved Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, which last month led aldermen to agree to sell 5 acres of industrial-zoned land in south Fayetteville to a man who plans to build a medical marijuana growing facility.

If the plan goes through, city staff said they want to be prepared to allow dispensaries to be built in close proximity to the facility. State law requires zoning regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries to match those for licensed retail pharmacies, but the city’s zoning code currently limits drug stores to commercial districts. To address the issue staff has recommended amending the Industrial-1 and Industrial-2 zoning districts to allow Use Unit 16, “Shopping Goods,” by right.

According to a staff memo, a similar proposal was recently approved by the City of Fort Smith.

Fayetteville aldermen will consider the idea at the next regular City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday inside City Hall room 219. Update: It passed.

Brian Faught, owner of AR-Canna LLC, will first need to be approved by the state before building his cultivation facility.

Plans call for a 30,000-square-foot growing and processing plant and a 5,000-square-foot office complex on Industrial Drive south of Pump Station Road. Faught hopes to hire 35-40 hourly employers at a starting wage of $15 per hour, 3-5 managerial employees with an annual salary of $50,000-$70,000, and two senior managers who’ll make $75,000-$125,000 per year, according to a staff memo.

Faught said he plans to use a Fayetteville architecture firm for the design and construction drawings of both buildings. AR-Canna will hire a local contractor to oversee all aspects of the construction, a city staff memo states. The land offers enough space, Faught said, to build a second or third cultivation facility as the industry matures.

Voters in November approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, which legalized medical marijuana and established the Medical Marijuana Commission. The law allows between four and eight cultivation facilities, but the commission in December voted to initially allow five facilities.

The application period for potential facility owners will open July 1, but it could be November before any approvals are in place, Faught said.

The Fayetteville land sale contract is contingent upon Faught’s approval, and will expire at the end of the year if no decision has been made.