Arkansas Cannabis Times | Issue No. 1 | 2024

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Marijuana is for use by qualified patients only. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding poses potential harms. Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana. 1200 THOMAS G WILSON DR, CONWAY 501-504-6065 • HARVESTCANNABISARKANSAS.COM • MON-SAT 9AM-8PM • SUN: 12-6 ARKANSAS'S ONLY CLEAN GREEN CERTIFIED ® ORGANICALLY GROWN CANNABIS BEST FOR YOU BEST FOR AR BEST IN AR

You’re holding the debut issue of Cannabis Times, a special publication curated by the Arkansas Times. We’re dedicated to the thriving medical marijuana industry in Arkansas. Through enlightening features spotlighting the intersection of medicine and wellness, our mission is to empower readers with knowledge and inspiration while cultivating a deeper appreciation for this transformative sector within our state. From patients to industry members and those looking to learn more about cannabis in Arkansas — Cannabis Times is the go-to resource. Come journey with us as we delve into the thrilling developments, obstacles and opportunities within Arkansas’s vibrant medical marijuana landscape.


Arkansas grapples with the divisive topic of medical cannabis, particularly for PTSD treatment, as experts like Matthew Dedman and Angela Campagna advocate for personalized approaches.


Dive into a concise exploration of marijuana's turbulent history, from its early medicinal uses to modern controversies, shedding light on its potential benefits and the ongoing quest for understanding.


10 Q&A

A quick chat with ABC director Christy Bjornson.


Strain spotlight from River Valley Relief.


The state of cannabis in Arkansas.


Explore the grow room at Custom Cannabis.


Justin Collins discusses the art of crafting glass-blown weed pipes.


Mink & Kimball set the processing game higher.

Frontman of Carpenter Farms, Abraham Carpenter Jr. Photography by Sara Reeves.


Two cultivators, Carpenter Farms and Osage Creek Cultivation, have made their mark in Arkansas's cannabis industry by trading tradition for innovation. Delve into their new family legacies as they pioneer a path forward.


Natural State Medicinals embraces local partnerships for quality edibles.

48 CBD

Sniff out the low-down on CBD for your pet.


Living the high life.

4 Cannabis Times ISSUE 1 | 2024


Expanding Horizons with Heart Osage Creek is on a thrilling journey of growth and innovation, deeply rooted in our dedication to the cannabis community. As we unfold this new chapter, our excitement is boundless, not just for expanding our reach but for deepening the connections within our vibrant community.


Harvest Cannabis Arkansas: A Union of Vision and Values

We proudly announce our merger with Harvest Cannabis Arkansas, a significant milestone that symbolizes our shared commitment to quality, community, and sustainability.

Located at 1200 Thomas G Wilson Dr, Conway, AR 72032, this new addition heralds an era of enriched experiences and product diversity for our customers. Visit Harvest Cannabis Arkansas for a glimpse into our future together.


Our expansion is synonymous with innovation, as we introduce strains and products designed to elevate the cannabis experience:

OCM (Osage Creek Monster): A unique blend of Gelato and Scott's OG, this indica-dominant hybrid is perfect for those seeking a tranquil yet focused experience.

Moonshine: A sativa-dominant cross that promises daytime functionality with unmatched clarity, ideal for fostering creativity and social engagement.

"We strive to keep up with all the new technology while staying true to our roots," Jay Trulove, our founder, reminds us as we balance progress with our foundational values

Bridging Preferences: Innovative Multi-Dose Options

Embracing diversity, we introduce multi-dose options to cater to every preference. Our 100mg streams and 900mg waves, available in sugar-free, sugar-coated, and vegan options, ensure a personalized cannabis journey. Dive into a world of flavors, from Cherry Limeade to Fruit Burst, each designed to deliver a unique experience.


At the heart of Osage Creek's expansion and innovation lies our unwavering commitment to the community. By weaving new products and welcoming new locations into our narrative, we pledge to provide a comprehensive cannabis experience that honors the plant's natural benefits.

Together, Growing More Than Cannabis

Join us as we navigate this exciting journey of innovation and connection. With each step forward, we reinforce our dedication to nurturing lasting relationships within the cannabis community, ensuring that together, we're not just growing cannabis—we're cultivating a legacy of unity, quality, and respect for nature.

Marijuana is for use by qualified patients only. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding poses potential harms. Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana.
6 Cannabis Times ISSUE 1 | 2024 DROP US A LINE AND SAY HIGH! ISSUE No. 1 | 2024 PUBLISHER Lee Major CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mandy Keener EDITOR Becca Bona DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER Madeline Chosich ADVERTISING ART DIRECTOR Mike Spain GRAPHIC DESIGNER Sarah Holderfield ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Terrell Jacob, Kaitlyn Looney, Evan Ethridge and Sommer Throgmorton ADVERTISING TRAFFIC MANAGER Roland R. Gladden IT DIRECTOR Robert Curfman CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Jackson Gladden CONTROLLER Weldon Wilson BILLING/COLLECTIONS Charlotte Key PRESIDENT Alan Leveritt ©2024 Arkansas Times Limited Partnership 201 E. MARKHAM ST., SUITE 150 LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 501-375-2985 @ARCANNABISTIMES SERVING NW ARKANSAS $49 CARDS 877-333-1047 Edibles | Extracts | Topicals | Clothing All Things Hemp 8210 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, Arkansas ARKANSAS’S PREMIUM HEMP Retailers and Wholesalers Quality | Variety | Innovation Topicals | Hemplixirs | Terpinaires When Quality Matters

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Marijuana is for use by qualified patients only. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding poses potential harms. Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana.

ISSUE 1 | 2024 7


An Arkansas native, Becca is an awardwinning writer and photographer who enjoys writing about the food, people and small businesses that make Arkansas unique. When she's not crafting stories, she's tackling opponents on the rugby pitch.


Matthew Martin is a photographer based in Little Rock. When he's not behind the camera, he spends his time traveling, enjoying the Little Rock music scene and spending time with his dog Carl.


Sara Reeves is a commercial photographer based in Little Rock. She has been exploring Arkansas with her cameras for over 20 years, telling countless colorful stories of the places we roam and the fascinating people we meet along the way.


North Little Rock native Stacey Bowers is a writer, arts lover and jewelry designer who found joy in learning about the quirks of glassworking in this issue. You can follow her work online through @bangupbetty on Instagram and


Jessica Maxwell is an aspiring writer from Little Rock. She received an M.A. in English from Mississippi State in 2023, where she was traumatized by Charles Dickens. Will write 4 food.


Rebekah Hall Scott is an award-winning journalist working in her native state. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Rebekah has written for the Arkansas Times, Dwell magazine, Bust magazine and more.


Griffin Coop, the Cannabiz editor at the Arkansas Times, covers the state cannabis industry. In the past year, Griffin has reported on Arkansas's medical marijuana industry sales, lawsuits and more. He continues to report on the proposal to expand medical marijuana in Arkansas in 2024.


Bri Peterson is a mixed media artist and creative educator based in Little Rock. She has exhibited artwork throughout Arkansas and California. Her next exhibit will take place at the Thea Foundation on Thursday, June 6, 2024. You can find her on Instagram @bumble_bri_artwork.


Philip Thomas is the owner and operator of Novo Studio, a photography, video and graphic design company located in Northwest Arkansas.

8 Cannabis Times ISSUE 1 | 2024 CONTRIBUTORS
ARKANSAS CANNABIS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION AND CANNABIS & WELLNESS EXPO SAVE THE DATE! AUGUST 16 & 17 SIMMONS BANK ARENA NORTH LITTLE ROCK CENTRALARKANSASTICKETS.COM Marijuana is for use by qualified patients only. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding poses potential harms. Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do not operate a vechicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana. PRESENT

As director of the Arkansas Beverage Control Division, Christy Bjornson oversees cannabis and alcohol regulation.


A Quick Chat with new ABC Director

Christy Bjornson.

Little Rock native Christy Bjornson assumed the role of director of the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division (ABC) in October 2023. ABC oversees more than 6,400 alcohol permits statewide and management of medical marijuana facilities. With experience as an attorney supervisor from DFA’s Office of Field Audit and deputy prosecuting attorney for the Sixth Judicial District, Bjornson is known for navigating complex legal terrain, promising to uphold compliance and cultivating positive relationships with stakeholders.

Previously, you worked at the DFA’s Office of Field Audit as attorney supervisor and at the Pulaski County Prosecutor’s Office. How will your past experiences translate to your new role as director of the ABC? My career developed at the prosecutor’s office here in Pulaski County under the leadership of Larry Jegley. Through almost seven years of terrific mentors, I walked away from that office having honed my skills as a trial attorney and with more than a few great examples of leadership. The quick pace of the courtroom and high number of felony cases taught me how to juggle a busy schedule and a ton of people and personalities. My experience gives me a steady foundation to work through complex alcohol and medical marijuana legal issues and serves as a framework for enforcing industry regulations.

As ABC director, how do you oversee the operation of Arkansas's medical marijuana facilities? On the ABC administration side, we are the more in-office component of overseeing medical marijuana facilities. Just like a prosecutor takes over a case worked up by the police, my office and our staff attorneys review violation reports and evidence while our boots-onthe-ground counterparts in ABC enforcement investigate industryrelated violations. On any given day we may be discussing ways to improve and modernize our public-facing systems for things like RIC (Registry Identification Card) card applications or promulgating new rules to align with law changes. We want our rules to make sense for a growing industry, so there is always some component of balancing interests in every decision we make. Our support staff processes over 6,000 applications for alcohol and medical marijuana permits and renewals every year — all while the phone never stops ringing.

How do you go about maintaining relationships with permit holders, law enforcement and local/ state leaders? I think the key is clear expectations and clear communication. When you are

clear with people, they can trust you, and I think that goes a long way towards maintaining relationships. I like solving problems and helping people come to a resolution, and I strive to make sure that after walking away from a conversation, whether I agree with the individual or not, they know I have listened to and considered their perspective.

What are some of your goals for the first year of your tenure as ABC director? I’m eager to speed up the RIC process — providing updates allowing applicants to apply, pay and receive their cards without having to appear in person for pickup. These are the identification cards worn by anyone who works on-site at a medical marijuana facility, both security and staff. Part of that goal will be accomplished by the institution of a new national licensing software designed to replace the current MMC management system. The implementation of this software is anticipated in early 2024.

How does serving the public in the state you grew up in feel? I could not be prouder to work in public service in my home state. Arkansas is a beautiful place to live, full of so much talent and heaps of potential. I am so pleased to be in a position where I can help entrepreneurs from my community launch successful businesses and bring more jobs to Arkansas, whether that be new restaurants with alcohol permits or new dispensaries serving qualified patients.

When you're not on the job, what are some of your favorite things to do in Central Arkansas? I keep busy playing tennis in a local league, and I love to hit the hiking trails with my pup, Zuko. You can often find me at Robinson Auditorium for a night out at the theater!

Do you have any fun or unusual hobbies? I try to win the NYT Wordle and Connections every day. I think Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce might be the cutest couple on the planet, and my reality TV guilty pleasures include “Survivor” and anything on Bravo.

10 Cannabis Times ISSUE 1 | 2024



43 strain spotlight from River Valley

Finding Orange 43 is like finding a cannabis unicorn. Made by crossing strains Orange and White Fire 43, Orange 43 is a rare hybrid strain. The dank blend of flavors produces delicious hints of citrus, spice and earth — sending your taste buds on a punchy, smooth experience. Patients report Orange 43 helps combat chronic stress, cramps and muscle spasms. Unlock relaxing and calming effects with this strain and slip into a soft euphoria. Best enjoyed via a lazy hang in the Ozarks, a tranquil night with friends or as a helpful tool to tackle the day.


Total THC: 27.2%

Total Cannabinoids: 32.1%


Caryophyllene oxide: 0.78%

Terpinolene: 0.41%

-Myrcene: 0.27%


Guaiol: 0.20%

d-Limonene: 0.14%

ISSUE 1 | 2024 13


The State Of Cannabis In Arkansas.

The Arkansas cannabis industry has come a long way in eight years.

Since Arkansas voters passed a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana in 2016, the state has gone from having no (legal) cannabis industry to one that has done more than $1 billion in retail sales.

The industry started with a big learning curve for both retail and cultivation operation, but it has since developed expertise in those fields, according to Bill Paschall, executive director of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association.

And, Paschall says, the industry is still growing.

There were 97,253 active patient cards as of early February, and that’s with some barriers in place that make it harder for prospective patients to sign up for the

program or for others to renew their cards. A constitutional amendment to expand the state medical marijuana program would eliminate — or at least lessen — some of those barriers to entry, like the one-year life of patient cards and the need to have one of 18 qualifying conditions.

First, let’s discuss how Arkansas’s green economy reached this point.

In 2016, voters passed the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act with 53.11% in favor. That amendment, supported by about half of the state’s 75 counties, allowed for up to 40 dispensaries and up to eight cultivation facilities with the state Medical Marijuana Commission sorting out the licensing process.

Things got off to a slow start as the industry jumped through all the regulatory hoops, but on May 11, 2019, the state’s first legal medical marijuana sale took place at a

dispensary in Hot Springs.

Since then, a total of 38 dispensaries have popped up all around, two short of the maximum 40 dispensaries allowed by law. (The state Medical Marijuana Commission has been prohibited by a court ruling from issuing the final two dispensary licenses).

Sales data shows the state’s dispensaries have sold more total products each year since the first legal jars of bud were opened in Arkansas in 2019. Some of those dispensaries are even growing their cannabis plants, although the number of plants is limited by state law.

Most of the state’s cannabis plants are grown in the eight cultivation facilities located throughout the state. Cultivators, primarily located in rural areas or urban industrial parks, grow the plants in controlled environments with bright lights and powerful ventilation systems that

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create the ideal environment for the plants. The facilities have rooms for drying and trimming the plants as well as extracting their desired components to create other products, like edibles.

Cultivators aren’t the only ones creating products for the state’s patients, though. Cannabis processors, like Dark Horse Medicinals in Little Rock, create products using cannabis plants (or their components) that are grown at cultivation facilities and dispensaries. Processors turn those materials into consumable products, including edibles, vapes, topicals and more.

The products, led by flower, have produced big sales numbers but they’ve produced big tax revenues for the state, too. The state collects a 6.5% sales tax and a 4% excise tax on sales made at dispensaries. Dispensaries also pay the excise tax when they purchase products from cultivators.

The state collected more than $31 million from those taxes in each of the last three calendar years. Since 2019, the taxes have brought in more than $120 million. A portion of the yearly tax revenue — about $3-5 million annually — goes to certain state agencies to operate the medical marijuana program. The rest, usually about $26 million, has gone to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to support its pursuit of a National Cancer Institute designation.

This year, a change in state law has directed the excess money away from UAMS and toward food insecurity and health needs. The first slice of the money is going to support public school meals, so any child who is eligible for reduced-price meals will receive that meal for free. That will take about $3 million of the medical marijuana

revenue, leaving about $23 million to be allocated for other food insecurity or health needs.

In 2022, state cannabis industry leaders tried to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older with a constitutional amendment that would have also increased the number of dispensaries and added some small cultivation facilities.

A pair of unlikely opponents, marijuana advocates Melissa Fults and David Couch campaigned against the issue. Fults felt the amendment would have caused the industry to prioritize recreational consumers and not focus on medical patients. Couch felt the amendment was too favorable to the existing industry.

In the end, 56.25% of voters voted against the measure.

This year, the cannabis industry has proposed an amendment to expand the state medical marijuana program. And Fults and Couch are on board.

The amendment would eliminate the state’s $50 for a patient card and would extend the life of a patient card from one to three years. The measure would allow pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants to certify patients for the program and allow them to do so for any “debilitating” medical condition, not just the 18 existing qualifying conditions. It would also allow patients to grow up to seven mature plants and up to seven immature plants.

Once approved, the measure will need 90,704 verified signatures to make the ballot. If that happens, voters will have a chance to expand the program they approved to kick off the state cannabis industry eight years ago.




2019 - $31.32 million

2020 - $181.8 million

2021 - $264.9 million

2022 - $276.3 million

2023 - $283 million


2019 - 4,735 pounds

2020 - 28,021 pounds

2021 - 40,347 pounds

2022 - 50,547 pounds

2023 - 62,227 pounds


2019 - $2,900,536

2020 - $21,267,554

2021 - $33,181,375

2022 - $32,072,444

2023 - $31,089,221

ISSUE 1 | 2024 15


May 10, 2019

Doctor's Orders (Suite 443), Hot Springs

May 12, 2019

Green Springs Medical, Hot Springs

June 20, 2019

Arkansas Natural Products, Clinton

June 27, 2019

Greenlight Dispensary, Helena-West Helena

July 2, 2019

Native Green Wellness (Good Day Farm Hensley), Hensley

July 11, 2019

Fiddler's Green, Mountain View

Aug. 7, 2019

The Releaf Center Dispensary and Farm, Bentonville

Aug. 15, 2019

The Source, Bentonville

Sept. 14, 2019

Acanza (The Hill), Fayetteville

Oct. 11, 2019

Harvest, Conway

Nov. 20, 2019

Purspirit Cannabis, Fayetteville

Dec. 9, 2019

NEA Full Spectrum, Brookland

Dec. 17, 2019

420 Dispensary, Russellville

Dec. 18, 2019

Fort Cannabis (The Greenery), Fort Smith

Jan. 10, 2020

Red River Remedy (Good Day Farm Texarkana), Texarkana

Jan. 15, 2020

Bloom Medicinals (SuperFarm), Texarkana

Feb. 3, 2020

Plant Family Therapeutics, Mountain Home

Feb. 14, 2020

Harvest House of Cannabis (Good Day Farm Little Rock), Little Rock

Feb. 26, 2020

Herbology (Greenlight Little Rock), Little Rock

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ISSUE 1 | 2024 17 March 5, 2020 Custom Cannabis, Alexander March 17, 2020 Natural Relief Dispensary, Sherwood April 27, 2020 Body and Mind Dispensary, West Memphis July 1, 2020 Delta Cannabis Company, West Memphis July 4, 2020 Growing with you since 2016 WRI G H T LI N D S E Y J EN NI NG S Cannabis Law Our multi-disciplinary team of attorneys, led by Erika Gee, helps clients navigate the diverse range of issues raised by the evolving cannabis industry We focus on regulatory guidance, corporate and tax issues, legislative lobbying and employment concerns. We offer experienced counsel and representation on every aspect of cannabis in Arkansas and other emerging markets. Accreditation: 118131 We test for 38 total terpenes, 5 additional cannabinoids, melatonin, caffeine, vitamin C, & more! 807 S Old Missouri Rd Suite C, Springdale, AR 72764 479-334-5197 • • AA Analytics • @aaanalytics OUR LAB OFFERS: Cannabinoid Quantitation | Water Activity Pesticide Screening | Heavy Metals Screening Residual Solvents | Moisture Content Microbiological Contaminates| Terpene Profile Water Activity | Residual Solvents


Living soil the heartbeat of Custom Cannabis.

Tucked a short distance from Interstate 30, where Arkansas Highway 5 intersects Alexander Road, one Saline County dispensary is living up to its name to provide a personalized wellness journey to each medical marijuana patient who enters its doors. Enter Custom Cannabis a dispensary that not only provides cannabis education and quality products, but also heavily focuses on each unique individual and their needs.

“We're trying to fill holes and create a market that nobody else is going after,” General Manager Lonny Chris said. No stranger to cannabis, Chris has been in the industry for eight years, coming to Arkansas from Colorado. “We’re going off terpenes, genetics, and really trying to pinpoint those items that people need.”

Custom was founded in 2017 by a diverse group of Arkansans ranging from physicians, a CRNA, a pharmacist, nurses, an entrepreneur, a health care software and hardware developer, and an orthodontist. The operation started serving patients in Arkansas in 2020, and strongly emphasizes research and development.

One of the ways Custom serves patients is by carefully

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producing its own cannabis via the state-approved dispensary grow program. Parameters in Section 13 of the Arkansas Beverage Control (ABC) Division’s Medical Marijuana Rules govern dispensaries’ steps to cultivate their own plants. For instance, dispensaries can only produce 50 mature plants at any given time. Dispensaries also have as rigorous of a process to follow as the cultivators on where cannabis is stored when it’s curing and drying before it’s processed or put together for packaging and consumption.

The beauty of the program is its size, which sets dispensary operations apart from the cultivators in terms of scale. Unlike cultivators who need to optimize their operations to grow large quantities to justify their margins, Custom and other dispensaries can approach their cultivation from an artisan, small-batch lens. “We’re able to take our time to allow our plants to do everything they should,” Chris explained, “so we’re not rushing anything out at all.”

Today’s cannabis farmers employ different methods for emulating that loving outdoor environment so that the plants can grow and thrive indoors. The combinations of creating the perfect grow room are endless, from different soil mediums to hydroponic systems. At

first, Custom used a hydroponic system that fed the plants via a nutrient-enriched water system. However, this process was not without its issues as the team combatted root rot, flow issues, and potential bacteria growth in the water.

Six months ago, Custom switched from a hydroponic system to a living soil system. Director of Cultivation Greg Olivella noticed an immediate difference. Olivella, a longtime grower and seasoned professional, said, “We have overall healthier plants because the roots never rot and they stay healthy, which creates an overall happier plant.” Chris added: “You're definitely getting a stronger terpene profile even when you walk in the grow room.”

The living soil provides an ecosystem in and of itself. Contrary to growing mediums, typically composed of inert elements, living soil fosters a symbiotic bond between plants and the varied microorganisms inhabiting the soil. “With the living soil, you have a whole ecosystem that combats all your pests, bacterias and stuff like that,” Olivella said.

“We're proud of all the organic inputs that we put into the soil. We don't put any kind of salt-based nutrients or anything like that in it. Plus, it's all completely organic, and the living soil creates a much better medicine for the patient.”

Custom works to ensure that it has a vision for every single one of its final cannabis products — from flower to concentrate and even live resin. “Dark Horse has been doing an amazing job processing for us,” Chris said. “We're actually pulling stuff a week early, unlike most people, and freezing that product so we can make some of the first true, live resin on the market.”

The dispensary grow operation at Custom relies heavily on feedback. Chris and Olivella choose strains to produce the desired effects that patients are clamoring for — to support the other cultivators while trying to bring new strains to market. They’ve noted that patients are requesting strains that complement being social and creative as an alternative to consuming alcohol, among other things. “A lot of strains out there right now include terpenes like limonene and betacaryophyllene, but we’re trying to specialize in new terpenes that aren’t on the market as much,” Chris explained.

Beyond fostering its grow program, Custom aims to support the cannabis industry in The Natural State and everybody in it. “We have everything on the shelf. We carry every single cultivator and every single processor out there," Chris said. “If there’s a new product on the market, we try to be the very first to try it out. We are a team player and want to be a one-stop shop and be here for the patient.”

Moving forward, Custom will continue to specialize, focus on market trends and, ultimately, listen to the patients to help decide what they should grow or improve upon next. Chris thinks this feedback is critical for the cannabis industry in Arkansas. “[We want patients to] know that we’re there listening so that way their notes on products aren’t just complaints. It’s actual constructive criticism, and we’re actually going back and trying processes again,” he explained. “Having that transparency, that true communication between everybody — patients, growers, and everyone in-between — I think is needed in this market.”

ISSUE 1 | 2024 19
General Manager Lonny Chris (left) and Director of Cultivation Greg Olivella (right) stand before their harvest in the heart of the grow room.

Vetting medical marijuana

Benefits of treating PTSD.

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Combating medical conditions with cannabis remains a somewhat divisive topic in The Natural State. This is likely due to a lack of research on the topic, as cannabis has only recently moved into public discourse from beyond the fringes of counterculture. In Arkansas, for a patient to be deemed eligible for a medical marijuana “registry identification card” they must be formally diagnosed by a physician with a “qualifying medical condition.” Of the 12 conditions listed in Amendment 98, there is only one relating to mental health: post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

One demographic commonly associated with PTSD is veterans — specifically — those who have seen combat. PTSD is characterized by the result of either firsthand exposure or the witnessing of actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violation.

Diagnosing PTSD is no simple task as it comes with a host of varying degrees of symptoms ranging from depression to reckless behavior and sleep disruption. Coupled with the lingering stigma of using marijuana medicinally, treating PTSD is far from simple.

Thankfully, there are individuals in Central Arkansas working hard to help veterans and civilians alike find relief through the responsible use of cannabis. Matthew Dedman, chief operating officer of Natural State Medicinals, is passionate about providing quality products to those who need them most. His own military background and experience with PTSD allow him a unique perspective on the industry in Arkansas. Similarly, Angela Campagna, MSW, LCSW, combats the stigma as a certified clinical trauma professional in Conway. Her company, Face2Face Therapy, follows a mission to diagnose assessments for PTSD, particularly within the veteran community.

Despite the lack of research, it is hard to dispute the countless success stories Campagna witnesses when her patients follow a treatment plan that includes the therapeutic use of marijuana. She

explained that very soon after her patients begin using marijuana, they note fewer mood swings, less irritability and decreased instances of sleep disturbances. She explained that the most important thing about cannabis use in patients with PTSD is the calming of the nervous system. “When you have PTSD, your central nervous system is constantly in overdrive, and to even begin the process of treating [it], you have to be in a relaxed state of mind and body,” she said. “[Cannabis] immediately calms down the central nervous system.”

Both Campagna and Dedman were eager to point out the lack of treatment options for PTSD and its related symptoms. They both also noted that patients who suffer from PTSD might also suffer from chronic pain. Most of the available medical prospects come with life-altering side effects such as weight gain, impotence or sleep disturbance. In fact, harsher drugs are often prescribed, as Dedman stated, “A trip to the VA means one thing sometimes — opioids.” Yet another common issue veterans suffering from PTSD experience is alcohol abuse — as they self-medicate. This brings a whole slew of well-documented and detrimental side effects.

Marijuana offers a more holistic approach to treating PTSD and has the benefit of easing pain without becoming addictive when used responsibly. One myth among the community, however, is that marijuana use can exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD, potentially causing a patient to return to negative thoughts or memories. Campagna agreed there is the possibility this might occur, but it might not necessarily be a bad thing. “When the body is in a relaxed state, the patient has the potential to better process their memory,” she explained. Alternatively, cannabis has the propensity to clear your mind, as Dedman added, “Sometimes forgetting I’m a veteran is the best medicine.”

While navigating the world of medical marijuana can be overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be a solo journey.

Campagna believes in what she calls the “treatment team model.” This threetiered approach involves a therapist, a medical doctor and a budtender. The three together provide regular therapy assessments and sessions, physical health assessments, and the exploration of different cannabis strains to determine what really works for each individual person. In today’s world, there are countless cannabis strains and ways to consume them. Often what works for one person might not work for another.

Both Dedman and Campagna emphasized that just like anything else, there is a breaking point. Because doctors cannot legally dose marijuana for a patient, it is up to each individual to responsibly experiment and figure out how much works best for them, Campagna explained. Overall, she noted the importance of being open-minded and willing to try different things. She encourages journaling as well as logging the effects of the different strains and products you try. For those who don’t feel like writing it out, there’s an app for that. Campagna is a fan of Leafly, which was created to help patients research and compare different strains based on crowd-sourced reviews.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fitsall when it comes to using cannabis, and with constant new developments and innovations in the industry, it can be overwhelming to get started. On the flipside, the industry is also highly regulated — particularly in Arkansas, meaning there is little room for error. The individuals who fuel the cannabis scene across The Natural State take their livelihoods and the safety of everyone very seriously.

There should be no holds barred when it comes to finding something that works for a patient who is suffering from PTSD. Campagna stated that it can be a struggle to get other professionals in her field on board with talking to their patients about the therapeutic use of marijuana and its benefits. It’s time that we move beyond the stigma and work toward helping patients succeed with cannabis and “forge a path to peace.”

Marijuana offers a more holistic approach to treating PTSD and has the benefit of easing pain without becoming addictive when used responsibly.
ISSUE 1 | 2024 21


Educating oneself on cannabis is a tricky endeavor, especially in the United States. A divisive subject, supporters tout anecdotal stories of its cure-all magical medicinal powers, while challengers claim it's the root of all evil.

To clear the smoke, we're exploring cannabis from a bird's-eye view, with a focus on the series of events responsible for positioning it in the American psyche.

Tracing history reveals the plant's place in early medicine, although its uses also included being a food and fuel source, making fiber, rope and paper. Archaeologists believe it was used as an anesthetic in China as early as 400 B.C. Many historians credit the colonization period for bringing the plant from China and Africa to North America and beyond.1

Hemp remained nonpolitical for quite some time. Cannabis was used for pain relief throughout the 18th century and inked into the United States Pharmacopeia in 1851. During this time, widely recognized benefits included quelling opioid addiction and soothing pain.2

Mainly due to Mexican immigration in the early 1910s, Americans began to view cannabis in a negative light. At that time, the immigrants encountered fear and prejudice from American citizens — and these views spilled over to cannabis use, a culturally acceptable activity employed by the newcomers. Twenty-nine states banned the use of marijuana altogether by 1931.

Cannabis came under federal attack in the United States in the 1930s with the passing of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, led by Henry Anslinger, the first director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics who, with newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, waged a propaganda war against marijuana. The American Medical Association opposed the act's passage at the time, touting the above-mentioned benefits. Regardless, it passed.3

A multitude of events swirled in motion to continue criminalizing cannabis use, including President Nixon's introduction of the war on drugs, despite recommendations from his own-appointed Shafer Commission recommendations. In

1970, the Controlled Substances Act made possession of cannabis federally illegal. The act also classified the plant as a Schedule I drug alongside addictive heavy-hitters like heroin and cocaine.4 This oversimplified history highlights events that have made it difficult for the U.S. to perform adequate, rigorous research involving the plant, its benefits and its scientific makeup.

These events bring us to today, a time when we still don't fully understand the benefits and limitations of cannabis — medically and beyond. However, there has been a significant shift in the American public's perception of cannabis, even within the past few years.

According to a Gallup Poll conducted at the end of 2023, 70% of Americans support the legalization of cannabis. In fact, over half of the 50 states have already legalized cannabis, either for recreational or medicinal use.5

In Arkansas, for instance, the medical marijuana program has been beneficial to numerous patients for a variety of ailments. However, a disconnect remains surrounding cannabis knowledge.

Luckily for those interested in unlocking the benefits of cannabis and achieving a more robust understanding of the plant, rigorous research is on the rise. The U.S. Department of Human Services recommended that the Drug Enforcement Administration reschedule cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug. (This category has a moderate to low potential for dependence; other everyday schedule III drugs include testosterone and ketamine.)6

Below is a list of common myths, assumptions and questions surrounding cannabis and its proposed benefits. We consider each and provide answers to help educate current and future patients on their path to wellness and healing.


The historical record shows human beings have safely and effectively used cannabis for millennia. The trick here

is that cannabis has been shown to treat a variety of ailments for a variety of people. The evidence, however, is often anecdotal instead of via prospective, double-blind, placebocontrolled clinical studies the modern pharmaceutical industry considers the standard today. As we mentioned, however, rigorous research via random control trials is increasing.

Research found that cannabis is effective in treating chronic pain, muscle spasticity and neuropathic (nerve) pain.7

One of the difficulties of pinning down the full range of benefits is that the plant contains over 100 cannabinoids and a wide variety of physiological active chemicals called terpenes. These cannabinoids interact with the human endocannabinoid system to produce different effects on mood, appetite, muscle control and pain, to name a few.

The most recognized cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC has many proposed benefits, improving mood, appetite, muscle spasticity and inflammation. CBD has proposed benefits such as relieving pain and anxiety. The many other cannabinoids, referred to as "minor" because of their low concentrations, have their effects. They are being investigated and utilized for their unique effects, like using CBN for sleep.

In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration approved two cannabinoids, dronabinol and nabilone, for medicinal use. Both are used for appetite stimulation, typically seen in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or in other situations where patients may have issues with appetite; however, these synthetic forms of THC are less effective and have more side effects than the natural plant. The FDA has also approved the use of a prescription form of CBD for two rare forms of epilepsy: Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.8

We still have a long way to go in understanding and unlocking all of the benefits of cannabis, especially from a medicinal perspective. The work is ongoing, but it's gained momentum in recent years.

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Compounds unique to the cannabis plant. THC and CBD are the two most commonly recognized ones.


Abbreviation for cannabidiol, a common cannabinoid second only to THC from a volume standpoint. CBD has been shown to treat pain, inflammation and anxiety without the psychoactive effects associated with THC.


Ocean-grown on the West Coast. The moniker ‘OG’ now describes many strains, but it used to be specific to Southern California’s Ocean Grown Kush, which was shortened to OG Kush. Today’s OGs are typically different variations of the original OG Kush genetics.


A very popular species of the cannabis plant. Properties include providing a clear-headed, uplifting and energizing high. People lean on these for creative work and physical activities.


Liquid cannabis extract is often dosed with a dropper. Place 'em on the tongue for quick absorption or add them to a drink and stay patient. They’ll hit.


Active properties have been extracted and turned into a product such as a cream or lotion to be applied to the skin. Great for muscle aches and long-term soreness.


“Growth of hair” in Greek, trichome refers to the incredibly sticky, resin production glands found on cannabis plants. THC, CBD and other cannabinoids are all produced in these glands.


Stigma, stigma, stigma.

Politicians, parents and concerned groups have long used the term "gateway drug" to imply that cannabis use will lead to the use of other, harder drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and LSD. However, the National Institute of Justice (the research entity attached to the U.S. Department of Justice) found in 2018 that there is no causal link between cannabis use and the increased use of hard drugs.9

Similarly, researchers in Minnesota and Colorado published a study in 2023 that found that legalization of cannabis does not positively correlate with substance abuse.10

Those who have used hard drugs might likely have utilized cannabis at some point or another in their lifetimes, just as they have likely abused alcohol or tobacco. However, this does not mean that cannabis and hard drugs are mutually exclusive. You could also say that individuals abusing hard drugs also consume caffeine. Perhaps they also drink seltzer water. Or consume dairy. This type of thinking is a failed logic, and there is no credible evidence that increased use of cannabis leads to increased drug use.

However, it is worth noting that a small percentage of individuals who use cannabis will become addicted to it via what is called Cannabis Use Disorder. Cannabis itself is not the issue, but rather the problem lies within an individual's personality, genetic makeup and predisposition to addiction. 11

Knowing and understanding the risks can help individuals navigate the everchanging cannabis wellness industry.


It's easy to see how this myth traces its roots back to the stigma surrounding cannabis from the turn of the 20th century, at least in the U.S. Cannabis critics have

always touted the plant as a pathway to violence and even death.

However, like the previous myth that cannabis is a gateway drug, there is a fallacy in this claim and the logic attached to it. In 2013, a report conducted on behalf of the White House noted that marijuana use does not induce violence.12 Plus, there is a growing body of research that has found a decrease in violence in states where marijuana has been legalized.13 Legalizing cannabis forces criminals out of the game over time, just like mobsters were eventually pushed out of alcohol production after alcohol was legalized following Prohibition.

Researchers studying Denver neighborhoods found that introducing a dispensary into a particular area reduced violent crimes without spillover into adjacent areas.14 On top of this, researchers have discovered that couples who consume cannabis are less likely to engage in domestic violence.15

Indeed, we don't have all the answers yet as to the effects of cannabis on various populations, as the government is slow to catch up with rigorous studies. However, the trajectory thus far is that there is a growing body of evidence that cannabis is not causally linked to violence. Plus, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that there has not been an overdose on marijuana alone, suggesting that cannabis itself is not rooted in violence.

The cannabis industry is probably best described as dynamic. As researchers learn more and patients become educated, driving demand for medically focused cannabis products, the market adjusts. Those interested in learning more about cannabis must remember this when navigating the new terrain. It's always best to consult your doctor or medical professional to discuss potential benefits and risks.

Cannabis is not a magical cure-all and does come with risks. The best we can do is continue to educate ourselves and engage our medical professionals in conversations about the plant.

1. 2. 3 4. NBK574544/#article-131542.s2 5. 6. 7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC8540828/ 8. 9. pdffiles1/nij/252950.pdf 10. D4AB5EB78D588473A054877E05D45F16 11. 12. https:// 13. https:// 14. 15. https://pubmed.

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Amidst rolling fields and nestled within tight-knit communities in The Natural State, two families are rewriting their legacies in the ever-evolving landscape of the medical marijuana industry. Meet the Carpenters, whose roots run deep in the fertile soil of Jefferson County, where farming isn't just a livelihood but a cherished tradition passed down through generations. Their journey into cannabis cultivation speaks to the profound changes sweeping through Arkansas as they pivot from traditional agriculture to embrace the burgeoning opportunities of medical marijuana.

Meanwhile, in the picturesque enclave of Northwest Arkansas, the Truelove family stands as pillars of their community. Led by a patriarch who once soared the skies as a pilot and later ventured into chicken farming, the Trueloves bring a unique blend of entrepreneurship and resilience to their newest venture: cannabis cultivation.

As these two families navigate the uncharted terrain of cannabis entrepreneurship, their stories illuminate the transformative power of adaptation and the enduring spirit of innovation in Arkansas's evolving cannabis landscape.

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The Carpenter Family Growing Green in Cannabis Venture

In Jefferson County, an incredible tapestry of green, russet and gold known as Carpenter Farms stretches out over 1,500 acres. A family affair, the operation is a household name to both regulars and those in the know who habitually visit the auxiliary produce and fish stand along East Harding Avenue in Pine Bluff.

Carpenter Farms wasn’t always such a large operation, however, and is rooted in modest beginnings. “It all started with just one acre,” said CEO and president Abraham Carpenter Jr., who credits his mother, Katie, and her modest garden from the late '60s as the catalyst for propelling the family into agriculture. Katie’s garden was so successful that her husband, Abraham Carpenter Sr., could see the potential for profitability. He quit his job at nearby Seagram’s Lumber Mill to support the garden full time and quickly began purchasing more acres.

For a time, the family connected their produce and customers through the farmers market circuit — making lifelong friends along the way. Today, the farm’s bounty fuels the Carpenter produce stand in Pine Bluff and is also shipped beyond the borders of Arkansas. “We’ve been doing this over 55 years now,” Junior said, “and there are 38 family members involved.”

The family farm has always worked to provide top-quality produce, and Junior credits his mom for identifying the secret ingredient within their process. “Mama always used to say that it’s all grown with love. The people who taste our products, you know, all

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A second-generation farmer steeped in Jefferson County, Abraham Carpenter Jr. revels in bringing medical marijuana to help patients fight maladies.


of our customers have become our friends because they support us. And they know that we love them and that we care about them.”

That bond between customer and farmer was the impetus for Junior initially wanting to explore obtaining a medical marijuana grower’s license. He knew, however, that his parents weren’t likely to support the idea, as they refused to sell beer or wine at the family restaurant. But Junior talked to his parents about the

impact they had the potential to make.

“When Dad heard about medical marijuana on the television, and we were sitting around talking about it, he said, ‘Junior, will that medical marijuana heal all the illnesses and all the conditions that they’re saying it will help with?’”

After learning that cannabis does indeed have documented medicinal properties, Abraham Senior followed his statement up with, “Well, son, we need to grow some of that.”

Getting into the cannabis industry was not without obstacles. The application process proved harried, and Carpenter Farms — the only fully minority-owned operation applying for licensure — was initially denied. They fought a long legal battle before finally receiving their license two years after applying.

Since day one of cannabis production, however, the Carpenter team continues to treat the marijuana-growing process as seriously as they would any other

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produce found on their farm. “We don't use any chemicals or none of that stuff.

Everything is organically grown,” Junior explained. Beyond relying on organic practices, Carpenter Farms does what it knows best — putting its people behind its products. They hand-trim each plant, ensuring that quality control stays at the top of their concerns. “Anytime you put cream of the crop ingredients into your product, it’s going to produce cream of the crop yields,” Junior said.

At the time of this story going to press, Carpenter Farms had 27 strains in their repertoire. They continually measure and check the THC percentages, working hard to improve their final product. Andrew McNeel, VP of marketing, is particularly proud of how far they’ve come, with nine strains over 30% and a couple of others in the mid-30s and 40th percentile. Junior

considers McNeel part of the family as he said, “Andrew and I grew up together — we were little boys running around the farmers market at the River Market.”

Junior and McNeel both credit the team for continuing to improve their available products. “They're all passionate,” McNeel said. “And we've all got that mindset that we're no better than each other — we're only as strong as each other.”

The Carpenter team plans to lean into its agricultural background when it's time for new products to hit the shelves. Think watermelon vape pens deriving elements from a Carpenter-produced watermelon in the final product. “We're going to constantly be introducing new skews, new product lines, new strains. That's our goal, to try to come on the market with something different every month,” McNeel said.

The team, for this reason, is open to feedback. They want to hear when something works well, but they also want to hear when it doesn’t so they can continue to improve their products. “What we want the consumers and the patients to understand is that we guarantee our product because we know firsthand,” McNeel said. His father, a three-time cancer survivor, regularly utilizes and reaps the benefits of the Carpenter Farms products.

“We're in the cannabis business but we're not growing cannabis just to try to get wealthy,” Junior explained. “We’ve got a genuine love for people and want to be able to help them with their illnesses or their illness. We want to be able to give them everything that they need to make them more healthy, more happy, and have a longer life.”

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The sparkling trichomes on the mature cannabis plant pictured on the left are a testament that from planting to processing, the cultivation of medical marijuana at Carpenter Farms is infused with love every step of the way.

The Trulove Family's Cannabis Venture “W

e voted no when it came out on the ballot,” said Jay Truelove, co-owner and operator of Osage Creek Cultivation. He’s referencing, of course, the 2016 ballot initiative to legalize medical mairjuana in The Natural State. Initially the least likely candidate to operate a cannabis growing facility, the Trueloves' journey to greener pastures centered on family, faith, plenty of research and an open mind.

Originally from the Berryville area, both Jay and Mary met while attending North Arkansas College in Harrison. “He was dating my roommate,” Mary recounted, smiling. It wasn’t long before the roommate was history and Jay and Mary tied the knot.

Even back then, neither Jay nor Mary had aspirations for an agricultural lifestyle. Mary followed in her father’s footsteps and became a teacher, receiving her master’s of education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Jay, on the other hand, had his eyes on the skies. He was around planes often as a young boy, working at his grandfather’s flight base operation and pumping fuel into various aircraft. “I’ve always wanted to be an airline pilot since I was young,” he said. Thus, he went to work to become one.

The two would become partners in life, family and eventually business. They stayed in the northwest area as they grew their family, raising three children. They moved to Phoenix for a brief stint, but moved back after a year. It was then that Jay decided he wanted nothing more than to have a farm. “Our oldest son was ready to go to school, and we wanted to settle back down here,” Mary explained.

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The Trueloves have found a niche in the medical marijuana market in The Natural State. Pictured above, Mary, Jay, and their son Matt stand in their Berryville facility, prepared to change lives for the better.
“Hearing people’s testimonials and how
we’ve been able to help them, it means the world.”
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The Osage Creek team meticulously oversees every step of the cultivation process including packing and processing.

“I just always wanted some land,” Jay said. “Mary had a farming background growing up with cattle and stuff, but I didn’t.” Instead of letting that stop him, he got into chicken farming and began working for Tyson. “They were begging for growers,” he remembered. “I said, ‘Guys, I've never been in a chicken house before,’ and they said, ‘Perfect. You'll do it the way we teach.’”

In fact, the Trueloves’ routine for quite some time involved plane schedules, farm schedules and the choreography of kids growing up. That’s how the cadence of life remained until Jay and Mary came home from the polls in 2016. “We were strongly against it. We voted no,” Jay said. Particularly for Jay, a pilot — he was wary of marijuana in general — as the federal government classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug.

Regardless of their votes, the measure passed. “I didn’t know anything about it,” Jay remembered, “Our oldest son said there was evidence that it could help medically, but I said, ‘Sure.’” At the time he didn’t put too much credence to it, until he began hearing anecdotes from people firsthand about how cannabis helped battle health issues.

One of his co-pilots described how it helped his father, a cancer patient, relieve pain and other symptoms. Another detailed how his sister-in-law was able to get relief from multiple sclerosis (MS). “Mary was skeptical, but I decided to open my mind a little and do my own research,” Jay said.

Jay started in the 1800s, and quickly saw that cannabis was stigmatized in the press, even back then. “It kills pain. It can help you sleep,” he said. “You can eat all of it that you can hold, and it's not going to kill you.” Around that time, Jay found the story of Charlotte’s Web, a CBD company founded initially to help a girl named Charlotte who suffered from catastrophic seizures. That was enough for Jay. He wanted to go all-in to help others suffering from various health issues and diagnoses.

“I wanted to apply to be a grower,” he said. But he couldn’t take such a step without his wife on board. For Mary, cannabis was not something she had ever thought much about.

Coincidentally, around that time she had a terrible accident and broke both of her ankles. She was in bed recovering for nearly half a year with doctorprescribed opioids for pain. Mary took the

opportunity to do her own research, and she was about ready to change her mind; but she had a caveat — she wanted to speak with three pastors.

“I thought all three would tell me no,” she said. However, it turned out that would not be the case. In fact, two responded in the positive right away, explaining that they previously conducted research on the topic for the benefit of their parishes. The third, a father figure to both Jay and Mary, didn’t respond right away. “He said, ‘I don't know anything about it. I need to do research before I give you guys an answer,’” Mary remembered. He finally got back with the Trueloves, with a story about a close friend battling cancer who was able to push back enough against the disease to continue living.

“I said, God, I’ve tried every way I know. If you want us to have it, give it to us. If not, that’s OK, too.” With all three on board, the two decided to apply for a license. They worked with a consulting company out of Denver to ensure that they had their information as accurate as possible. They received their grower’s license in 2018 and came to market the following year.

While neither Jay nor Mary utilize medical marijuana, their eyes have opened to those that use it and get relief from myriad symptoms and diagnoses. In fact, for Jay that’s been the best part of the whole venture. “Hearing people’s testimonials and how we’ve been able to help them, it means the world,” Jay said.

The facility that the two are running is top-notch. As methodical as the family was about applying for the license, they were just as methodical about planning out their build-out. Their younger son, Matt, works in construction and was able to help set the foundation for success. Jay is no stranger to the business, either.

“He already owned a construction company. We did want the operation to be a family thing. This is personal to us,” Jay said. “That’s why we’ve got the facility on our land right now. I don’t know how many phone calls we’ve had, people mostly from out of state and investors, trying to buy us out.”

From day one, the build-out was created to sustain a second growth phase, and the recent move into the space has been welcome progress. One of their proudest accomplishments, according to Jay, is their workforce. “The employees make it happen,” Jay said. “We couldn’t operate without them.”

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Lampworking Artist Justin Collins’ Backyard Business Making Pipes.
Cannabis 2024
By Stacey Bowers PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW MARTIN From his studio near DeGray Lake, Collins creates handmade, intricate glass pipes, which are then sold across The Natural State and beyond.

could say it was serendipitous how Justin Collins started making weed pipes. In 2015, an Arkansas native living in Austin, Texas, at the time, he had a friend who worked at, according to Collins, “for lack of a better word, a bong factory.” One day that friend challenged him to make a glass joint tip, and the completely inexperienced Collins somehow created the perfect one on the first try. His friend told him to get to work making more, and every tip after the first one was, in Collins’ words, “crap.”

That beginner’s luck must have been motivation because Collins kept blowing glass and eventually made it his fulltime job. Now back in Arkansas and tucked neatly into his home studio near DeGray Lake, he says he creates in his workshop honing his craft daily, making mostly bright, intricately textured hand pipes in the lampworking style using a bench torch. Glass is a tricky medium, Collins says, and lampworking is an art form in which he feels he’s constantly learning. “You work hard all day on this one really cool thing, and you’re super proud of it, then it cracks and blows up … It cuts and burns you,” he says, half-joking. “I’m really shocked I haven’t blown myself up, which is a distinct possibility in the glass-blowing world.”

Collins works alone making each piece by hand, which is impressive considering his estimation that about 50 to 60 shops in Arkansas alone carry his work, plus several more nationwide, as he has a partner marketing his pipes regionally and they take his creations to national trade shows in search of new retailers. He says that the COVID-19 pandemic was a real catalyst for getting his business going, as everyone was stuck at home and looking for something to do with their hands, whether it was working on a new skill like glass blowing or lighting up a pipe more frequently to pass the time.

He’s currently working on a website to sell his creations directly to consumers and vends at local craft markets, like North Little Rock’s Mutants of the Monster Fest held in May, when he can. He’s also active on Instagram under the name @washboardglass, where he regularly shares new creations, process videos and what events he’ll be attending.

“I’m what I like to call a smoker’s glass blower,” he says, “because I know you can buy a 99-cent stack of papers and have your smoke, but I want you to buy a piece and have fun with it.” Ranging from about $20 to $100 in retail price, Collins’ colorful pipes don’t break the bank and make smoking with a glass piece more budget-friendly.

Arkansas’s legalization of medical marijuana played a big part in convincing Collins to move back home. “It seems that even though it’s slow compared to other states, that the right idea is here,” he says, adding that he’s hopeful for more dispensaries across the state, eventually allowing people the right to grow at home, and the dismissal of past marijuanarelated tickets and offenses.

He says the legalization and normalization of medical marijuana has made Arkansas a desirable place to live for craftspeople working in the weed world. “It’s hard to be a small business owner, let alone a small business owner in a business that’s a niche,” he says, but Collins is grateful for a community of smokers, shop owners and market organizers that have been supportive. “I’m truly blessed to be making weed pipes in my backyard.”

I’m really shocked I haven’t blown myself up.
42 Cannabis Times ISSUE 1 | 2024 You
Cannabis Times ISSUE 1 | 2024


A glass water pipe used for smoking ganja. Or tobacco. These gadgets rely on water to diffuse and cool the smoke before it hits your lungs.


Indica-heavy strains can make you dazed or sleepy. If you happen to enjoy a particularly potent batch, you’ll be parked in-de-couch.


A dose of cannabis concentrate that is “dabbed” on a hot surface before inhaling. Those who partake in dabs are “dabbing.”


A number associated with marijuana use. Although the origin of it is disputed, the most repeated story is that a group of California teens would use the phrase as a code to meet at 4:20 and smoke weed together in the '70s.


Earthy. Piney. Citrusy. Sweet. We’re talking 'bout those indica-laden strains from the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Term for top-quality buds that refers to the sticky nature of trichome-dense, excellent cannabis. Thanks to hip-hop legends E-40, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, this term became popularized in 1999.

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Collins utilizes a bent torch to blow glass and wants people who buy his pipes “to have fun with it.”


Mink & Kimball Extracts elevating growth with unique products.


Danielle Buntyon leads the charge at Mink & Kimball Extracts, one of Arkansas's pioneering medical marijuana processing companies focused on quality and innovation.

It’s hard to talk about medical marijuana’s rapid development across the country without gravitating toward terms like “innovative” and “entrepreneur.” Perhaps some of that comes naturally as part of the territory of any emergent industry. But some enterprises and individuals seem to stand out among this crowd, where everyone is clamoring to claim something new and bold. Take a look at a small operation budding along in the Arkansas Delta, producing unique products like THCinfused jams for patients, and it’s pretty clear that there are some interesting people hard at work in Arkansas’s medical marijuana scene.

Danielle Buntyon owns and operates one of Arkansas’s five licensed medical marijuana processing companies, Mink & Kimball Extracts. It’s not quite “mom and pop,” but it’s a true family affair. Buntyon and her mother are the sole full-time employees, and Danielle’s own daughter has also been a key inspiration and driver of her success.

“I’m passionate about connecting people with good quality, locally sourced food and I am passionate about helping people that are seeking better ways to support their health,” Buntyon said. “There’s no reason patients who don’t want to smoke or vape medical marijuana should be stuck only with that kind of limited options of edibles or gummies. I’m passionate about offering something unique, a higher quality experience.”

Medical marijuana cardholders can find Mink & Kimball products like Infused Watermelon Jam, Infused Mint Jam or Infused Strawberry Guava Jalapeno Jam at a range of dispensaries across Arkansas at a cost of about $40 for 0.4g at 400mg THC.

and British Columbia before moving back to Tennessee and setting up her business operation’s home base in Memphis. While Buntyon established her brand in Memphis, she had her eye on Arkansas, where in 2016 voters approved medical marijuana.

Buntyon’s decision to take a leap of faith across the Mississippi River to step into the THC-game has continued to gain her praise and attention. She’s keenly aware that as a woman and as a person of color, her success is not necessarily the most common story in Arkansas’s medical marijuana industry. But Buntyon says she’s largely found support in Arkansas.

"We need to move toward having a more robust market to make sure we're meeting the needs of patients. That includes opening up the beauty of The Natural State and looking into the idea of consumption spaces."

Buntyon is driven to honor her commitment to the craft. Back in 2018, before attaining one of Arkansas’s few medical marijuana processing licenses, Buntyon was experimenting in the kitchen — without THC — making a host of different jams and jellies and taking them to the farmers market in her hometown of Memphis.

“We grew and made what we could, seasonally,” said Buntyon, describing her first forays into making your typical morning toast spread a little more interesting. These garden-to-kitchen experiments ended up generating positive buzz. She began infusing her homemade products with hemp-derived CBD and soon started her first business, Jades Elevation, in Memphis. Buntyon runs a vertically integrated operation — growing, processing and distributing a host of products. The company describes itself as “a small family urban farm that focuses on providing the best hemp products from seed to experience.”

Buntyon studied agriculture at Tennessee State University and gained processing experience working in California

After an initial failed effort to secure a viable site for processing in West Memphis, a friend recommended she look about 15 minutes up the road at Marion, Arkansas. “They were so hospitable, it was so encouraging that they were open to what I was trying to do,” Buntyon said. She leased out a space with a commercial kitchen and set to work.

Buntyon claims her speciality is a unique ability to deliver quality processed products through the use of thoughtful remediation techniques designed to reduce the degradation of THC, CBD and other essential elements from the start through the end product. Navigating issues of scale, shelf life, safe processing techniques and streamlining food processing are at the heart of her operation. That even includes things like making specialty jar lids that are up to medical marijuana safety standards.

“There are many different types of consumers who come to me, whose needs aren’t being met because of restrictions to the law," Buntyon said. “I love the [referendum] process in Arkansas. Coming from Tennessee, I can see how it’s a really great and unique thing. The people can demand real-world stuff. We need to move toward having a more robust market to make sure we’re meeting the needs of patients. That includes opening up the beauty of The Natural State and looking into the idea of consumption spaces.”

Arkansas may face some legal restrictions that prevents it from being at the cutting-edge of patient services or “weed culture” — Arkansas is by no stretch of the imagination California or Colorado — but entrepreneurs like Danielle Buntyon highlight what residents here have long known: Arkansas can be a land of opportunity. There is room for entrepreneurs to make their mark, there is a demand for innovation and quality, and there is something greater to work toward. Buntyon noted, “I am building something for me and my daughter. There are lots of benefits to breaking into this business, even if you aren’t making a million dollars a month … this experience, building this with my family, is worth a million dollars to me any day.”

ISSUE 1 | 2024 45
Natural State Medicinals Touts Local Collabs.
Natural State Medicinals elevates its edibles by collaborating with local favorites Onyx Coffee Lab and Loblolly Creamery.

There’s more than one way to develop a recipe, and no one knows this better than Trevor Swedenburg, vice president of culinary operations at Natural State Medicinals.

An Arkansas native entrenched in the culinary world for over 15 years, Swedenburg discovered the cannabis industry by chance. He intends to stay a while, however, thanks to the impact he can make.

“Being able to touch patients’ lives in ways that I never thought imaginable,” he said, “is the absolute best part of this job.”

Before finding the cannabis industry, Swedenburg worked with such notable eateries as the Capital Hotel, South on Main, the James Beard Foundation and Oklahoma City’s 21c Hotel restaurant. Even now, he credits his success to stellar mentorship.

“I got to work under a bunch of notable chefs when I was getting started at the Capital Hotel,” he said. Think big names like Matthew McClure (The Hive, Woodstock Inn & Resort), Casidee Dabney (Blackberry Farms, Four Seasons) and Matthew Bell (South on Main, Big Bad Breakfast).

Swedenburg was poised to continue on a traditional culinary career path when an unexpected opportunity came his way. “My best friend from middle school asked me if I could make candy,” he remembered. “I told him that I was a savory chef by trade but that I had definitely tangled with pastries before.”

It turns out Swedenburg’s best friend was one of the co-founders of Natural State Medicinals, and the opportunity seemed too good to pass up. So, while Natural State worked through the licensure process, Swedenburg worked at North Little Rock’s Flyway Brewing, learning everything he could about the world of confections in his free time.

Today he heads up a team responsible for all the delicious, creative edible products available from Natural State. Behind the scenes, they are always working to improve and perfect their final products, from THC-infused gummies to chocolates and hard candies.

For instance, getting the consistency dialed in for gummies takes some fine-tuning. “Probably my favorite thing to do is play with the pectin,” he explained. “It’s so scientifically based and meticulous, but I get to check the spatial particle


Excellent. Referencing fat, stinky weed that gets the job done with a strong, punchy aroma.

density — which basically means I see how much light goes through the medium.”

When not working on gummies, Swedenburg dreams up ideas for new collaborations. Since opening to the public, Natural State has always celebrated working with Arkansas-based businesses.

“The Arkansas market responds well to local businesses,” he said. “I learned that with Matt Bell at South on Main. He would use local ingredients in his dishes — it gives you good quality and it’s a good way to support the community.”

Swedenburg upholds a similar mindset at Natural State. Before a collaboration can be secured, however, the intended flavor profile has to be worked out. That’s how NWA-based Onyx Coffee Lab came to the forefront — Swedenburg was after a particular flavor. He envisioned a THC chocolate bar studded with a hint of sweet, toasty hazelnut.

“Onyx, of course, has a very recognizable name,” he said. The roastery has won countless national awards. Plus, it just tastes good.

“We were able to talk to [Onyx] about our idea, and eventually we became partners,” Swedenburg explained. Patients can check out the Hazelnut Espresso Bar as well as the Morning Brew Little Bark to get a coveted taste.

Loblolly Creamery, a beloved small-batch ice cream shop located in Central Arkansas, also marks the list of Natural State Medicinal collaborators.

“I have always loved Loblolly,” Swedenburg said. “We’re always looking at what we can use to improve our products, and that vegan waffle cone was calling our name.” He knew Loblolly’s waffle cone — balanced, crunchy, and sweet — would be a perfect core ingredient for THC-infused chocolates.

Thus, the Little Bark line was born. These bars celebrate the delightful fusion of gourmet chocolate and the therapeutic benefits of cannabis while celebrating local and offering delicious flavor combinations. Patients can enjoy everything from Churro Cheesecake to Peanut Butter Crunch, and so much more.

As long as Swedenburg is at the helm of Natural State’s culinary program, patients can continue to expect epic flavor combinations. Swedenburg loves pushing the culinary envelope: “It’s always fun to have fun.”


A shortened name for hashish — cannabis resin used for recreational and medical consumption. Typically strong, it can be enjoyed smoked, chewed or swallowed.


The one that came before — heirloom denotes a cannabis strain that was taken from its native homeland and grown elsewhere.

ISSUE 1 | 2024 47


Exploring Cannabis for Canines

The canine endocannabinoid system looks a lot like ours. Their receptors are more sensitive to the effects of phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant), especially to tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. In fact, a THC-intoxicated canine is a common sight in a veterinary clinic. For pups, too much THC often results in wobbling back and forth, dribbling urine, dramatized responses to stimuli, difficulty controlling body temperature and difficulty with hydration.

These cases are all handed the same way (unless there’s chocolate involved). Dogs receive anti-nausea medication to help with dizziness, heat support, IV fluids to maintain hydration and a quiet place to rest. Once they have a bag of fluids, they perk up and can go home without medications.

During my time as an emergency veterinary technician, I witnessed many different things; however, THC was the only intoxication that didn't require forced emesis, activated charcoal and prayer. That alone made me curious about what the plant could do for the dogs. My research helped me understand that THC has a strong affinity to the CB1 receptors. The highest concentration of CB1 receptors in the canine brain is located in the cerebellum. The cerebellum is responsible for balance, and that's why we see dogs sway back and forth when they’re intoxicated.

While high doses of THC are overwhelming to the canine endocannabinoid system, THC

does have proven therapeutic effects when used in conjunction with other phytocannabinoids. It all shakes down to how the cannabinoid binds to the receptor.

For instance, THC binds orthosterically to the receptor. Think of orthosteric as the traditional binding site, and imagine THC nestled snugly into the CB1 receptor like a glove. CBD, on the other hand, binds allosterically to the receptors. Allosteric binding is anywhere else on the receptor except the traditional binding site.

When the two major cannabinoids, CBD and THC, bind to the same receptor, things get interesting. The CBD’s method of binding changes the orthosteric site, and thus THC doesn’t fit as firmly in the receptor. This decreases the intoxication effects that the canine experiences from THC. All of the molecules have their own specific coding, and we all know that the entourage effect makes for a better experience. Your dog feels the same way.

Much like our own system, your dog’s endocannabinoid system produces its own endocannabinoids. In fact, it’s more than just dogs, too. When birds sing, they produce copious amounts of AEA, also known as the “bliss” molecule. Nematodes exhibit hedonic feeding – i.e., the munchies when exposed to anandamide. Scientists discovered that even insects with exoskeletons have a modified version of an endocannabinoid system.

We all have a system that interacts with the compounds found in cannabis. It’s all about narrowing down what cannabinoids are beneficial to which ailments so we can tailor-make cannabis profiles for our furry and not-so-furry friends.

That’s where my research comes into play. I’ve been designing custom cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles for hounds for years, so I’ve been able to see what cannabis can do for a wide variety of ailments that cause animals to suffer.

One case stands out when considering THC, and her name is Aspen.

Aspen is an American Bully, and she was 1 1/2 years old when I met her. She was diagnosed with heartworm and needed treatment. The treatment consists of painful injections in the back muscle and mandatory cage rest. A dog that undergoes heartworm treatment without cage rest risks cardiopulmonary complications. We tried my full-spectrum hemp blend for Aspen at first, but even 50mg didn't make a dent in her energy levels. Cage rest for a dog that’s under 2 is no cakewalk. After talking to Aspen’s human-mom, we decided to move forward with a 1:1 tincture. The ratio denotes that for every CBD molecule, there is also a THC molecule to match. We started with 20mg of the combination medicine, administered twice daily.

Within 20 minutes of her first dose, Aspen was resting and relaxing. Her human-mom reported to me that for two months, Aspen would politely take her tincture in the morning and go straight to her kennel to relax. My formula made cage rest a breeze, and little Aspen fully recovered from her heartworm diagnosis.

A former emergency veterinary technician, Andrea Harris founded Hippie Hounds, a full-spectrum hemp product company for animals, in 2019.

48 Cannabis Times ISSUE 1 | 2024



Numerous initiatives are underway to conduct thorough studies on CBD and its impacts on dogs. Despite this, anecdotal evidence suggests positive outcomes. CBD is used to treat pain and help control seizures in our furry friends. CBD is used for other applications as well, such as anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation and anti-anxiety benefits.


Crucial factors like your dog’s weight, the severity of the condition being treated and the concentration of the CBD product all matter when it comes to determining the right dosage. Generally, you should always start with a low dose and closely monitor your dog’s response before increasing the dosage as needed. Consult a veterinarian experienced in CBD use for pets to get a recommendation tailored to your dog’s specific needs and health considerations.


According to the American Kennel Club, the following side effects are common for CBD in dogs: dry mouth, resulting in increased thirst in dogs; lowered blood pressure, which might induce a brief sensation of light-headedness; mild drowsiness from CBD’s calming effect, particularly with higher doses.


When starting out, it’s best to buy CBD as a liquid. This way, you can adjust your dog’s dosage slowly with precision drop by drop..


Get the analysis when shopping for the right product. You’ll want to make sure there is an appropriate amount of CBD. You’ll also want to ensure the product lacks pesticides, fungicides and solvents.

Information taken from: https://www.akc. org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-dogs/.

Marijuana is for use by qualified patients only. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding poses potential harms. Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana.


ISSUE 1 | 2024 49
Marijuana is for use by qualified patients only. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding poses potential harms. Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana. 525 MALLARD
Bank Cannabis Co. offers patients a unique dispensary experience. Situated in Pine Bluff and serving all of the delta.
Welcome to the Suite Life!
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MMary Jane Doe here, back and higher than ever. I’ve just come in from my front porch, where I had my morning toke (it’s noon). After a couple puffs of the leftover joint I swiped from the bar last night, the I-might-have-had-onetoo-many-tequila-sodas feeling has been warded off and I am now sitting pretty in my productivity corner. Ah,weed. The miracle plant. We smoke her for a lot of reasons, (hangovers being one of them) and in a lot of ways. Some “mornings” I opt for a quick hit from an I-need-to-cleanthat bowl, and others my tiny attention span can only handle ripping my vape while I ADHD throughout the house. I’d say it doesn’t make a difference how we get ourselves high, but, I’m no liar. From the classic apple-pipe method to the tabletop bong, the vessel is essential, and says a lot about who we are and what we would like to accomplish as stoners.

Need to get a little high really quick?

Don’t feel like grinding a bunch of weed? Lack the skill, time or tools to roll a joint? This is when we turn to the pipe. The bowl. The chillum. The one-hitter. Or if you’re me in eighth grade, the apple, though this method does have some technique involved. There is no cuter or more accessible way to smoke weed than glass. This route is ideal for beginner smokers who may feel at risk of getting “too stoned,” despite arguments whether there is such a thing. If you’re anything like me and would rather buy a new pipe than clean the one you’ve been using, Glass and Glamour has some adorably artful glassware. In case my boyfriend (who I am married to) is reading this, I personally have my eye on the Vibrance

Clarity pipe at She is a girl on the go. She is at work. She is in the car, being the passenger princess. She is in the bathroom of her grandma’s house while her problematic family members discuss politics. She is anywhere it might be inappropriate to toke up flower. She is vaping. While the vape doesn’t necessarily give us the cleanest, most reliable or overall best high, it sure does come in handy during our times of need. The vape can be the difference between being high at all, or not being high at all. Despite not having a single clue what the long-term effects of inhaling strange wax at high temperatures, we greatly appreciate the vape’s nonstop service. Let us not ponder too hard on where our e-waste goes when we toss our disposable vapes in the trash. Into the landfills? Into our water? Turning the frogs gay? Who knows. I personally choose not to dwell on the vape’s shortcomings so I can stay stoned. That is, when it isn’t hiding in the back pocket of one of my pairs of trendy cargo pants.

My personal favorite way to smoke weed is via joint. Requiring skill, patience and effort, the joint is by far the sexiest way to get high. It is also the best way to taste the strain you’re smoking. Blazy Susan ( makes these adorable pink rolling papers, as well as pre rolled joints (or “cones”), if you’re not the best at rolling. I recently inherited a vintage roach clip from my Aunt Linda, and now I feel like a grunge Audrey Hepburn every time I toke up the last of a doobie. I bet you could find something like it on Etsy, if you desire to feel as posh as I do.

Edibles, or as I like to call them, “hippie

Xanax,” are fantastic for when you need to get high under the radar. I like to pop a 10mg Watermelon Sugar gummy from Good Day Farm before I do anything. These days, they’re putting THC in pretty much anything ingestible you could possibly think of. Tinctures, salt, butter, honey, you name it, it has the potential to get you high. As a professional pot eater, I do warn you to double-check the doses on your edibles before you find yourself floating around in the ether, questioning life’s existence while your face turns green.

Smoking a bong outside of a college dorm room covered in tapestries and deadhead posters is hardly ever acceptable. I’ve sworn off ever smoking a bong again after a traumatic experience on a golf course in 2016, but this mega cute “Canna Style Disco Ball Bong” from might convince me to come out of retirement. Mary Jane Doe Says: Regardless of how, when or why … we stay high.


Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Coolidge, The Dude from The Big Lebowski


Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Bob Dylan, Bobby Petrino


Roaches by Emily Fenton


Joint. Hybrid Strain: 2 Face from Good Day Farm. Edie Parker rolling papers.

50 Cannabis Times ISSUE 1 | 2024
Marijuana is for use by qualified patients only. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding poses potential harms. Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana. Mon-Thurs: 9am-7pm • Fri: 9am-8pm Sat: 9am-7pm • Sun: 10am-6pm 2733 N. McConnell Ave, Unit 15 • Fayetteville • 479-935-9394 At the Hill in Fayetteville, Northwest Arkansas’ Premier Dispensary, our mission is to help patients enter the cannabis industry focusing on quality assurance and patient care . Chill at the Hill!
Product availability differs by store; please contact your local Good Day Farm Dispensary for more details. Promos and discounts cannot be combined. Good Day Farm reserves the right to alter or cancel any promotion at any time. Marijuana is for use by qualified patients only. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding poses potential harms. Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent. Redeem $5 for every 100 points you earn. Stash 1,000 points to save $50 on your next purchase! Sign up today and start earning! GOOD REWARDS ARE BIRTHDAY SURPRISE SIGN-UP BONUS REDEEM POINTS GOOD PEOPLE. GOOD PERKS. GOOD DAY. Product availability differs by store; please contact your local Good Day Farm Dispensary for more details. Promos and discounts cannot be combined. Good Day Farm reserves the right to alter or cancel any promotion at any time. Marijuana is for use by qualified patients only. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding poses potential harms. Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent. Redeem $5 for every 100 points you earn. Stash 1,000 points to save $50 on your next purchase! Sign up today and start earning! GOOD REWARDS ARE . h e BIRTHDAY SURPRISE SIGN-UP BONUS REDEEM POINTS GOOD PEOPLE. GOOD PERKS. GOOD DAY.

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