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story.lead_photo.caption Vincent's Fine Wine and Liquor is shown April 12 at 410 Realtor Ave. in Texarkana, Ark. Florida-based Bloom Medicinals has bought the property for an estimated $896,000 and paid $7,500 for a city license to operate one of Texarkana's two medical marijuana dispensaries there, public records show. Photo by Karl Richter / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Ark. — Management of a medical marijuana dispensary slated to open here soon says caring for patients and becoming a beneficial part of the community are its goals.

Bloom Medicinals' Texarkana dispensary will be the Florida-based company's seventh, joining five locations in Ohio and one in Maryland. It will be in the former Vincent's liquor store building at 410 Realtor Ave.

Unnamed members of Bloom Medicinals' management staff agreed to answer written questions submitted by the Gazette. The questions and answers follow, lightly edited to conform to Associated Press style.

Texarkana Gazette: Tell me about your business. How long have you been in the cannabis industry, how did you get started, why marijuana, etc.?

Bloom Medicinals: We are a family-owned enterprise with over five years of experience in the medical marijuana industry. Creating a compassionate patient-centric experience is at the core of our values. We take the time to work with each individual patient to help identify products that will work best specifically for them. Our goal is to bring safe access to medical marijuana and be a positive addition to nearby communities. Bloom Medicinals strives to be a socially responsible organization with a goal of improving the quality of life and well being for our patients and those around us.

TG: Why did you choose Texarkana for your location?

BM: At the time we were procuring our location and property, we had the opportunity to meet with city officials in Texarkana to determine if our operations would be a good fit for the community. When selecting a potential location for a medical marijuana facility, there are myriad factors that must be met for us to qualify the property and create an application or proposal with that location. Some of these factors include nearby access via roadways/highways, population density, real estate zoning, surrounding areas, availability of property, price, etc. Texarkana and the surrounding area met most of these criteria, and Bloom Medicinals made the decision to proceed with an application for this location. We believe our location in Texarkana, located just off Interstate 30, provides easy access for residents of Miller County. As Bloom Medicinals begins its operations over the next four to six weeks and has the opportunity to introduce our team to Texarkana and the surrounding region, we will continue to work to establish positive relationships and ensure we are adding value to the communities.

TG: When is the Texarkana location opening? Are you planning a ribbon-cutting, grand opening or other such event?

BM: Bloom Medicinals typically opens our facilities with a soft opening, allowing us to get to know our communities and patients within the community. We do not create a large event like a grand opening as we work to focus on our patients and staff to ensure we are carrying out our mission to provide safe access to medical marijuana. Prior to our opening, we will invite town officials, law enforcement and fire department to tour the facility and provide an opportunity to answer any questions and address any comments or concerns. Once we are fully licensed and granted our certificate to operate, Bloom Medicinals will be accessible by only qualified patients and caregivers and will resemble the operation of a licensed pharmacy.

TG: How many jobs will the dispensary add to the local economy? Will you be hiring locally or bringing in employees?

BM: Bloom Medicinals will open with seven to 10 employees, and within the first six to 12 months of operation, we will expand our staff to 12 to 15 employees. We place emphasis on hiring locally.

TG: What kind of marketing and outreach are you planning?

BM: Our marketing is focused on educating not just patients but the general public, as well. Through educational and social events, our goal is to inform the public that there is another option for patients struggling with pain and many other qualifying conditions. Our social events are aimed at bringing the local community together, and to fight against the stigma associated with medical marijuana use. We also look to partner with local organizations.

TG: How do you differentiate yourself from and compete with other dispensaries?

BM: By truly immersing ourselves within the community. While other dispensaries sell to customers, we care for patients; that's the Bloom Difference. We take the time to listen, understand and educate our patients. Through our efforts, we strive to build a level of trust with our patients and let them know that their well-being is in our best interest.

TG: What has your experience been like working with the city regarding licensing, permitting, etc.?

BM: From the onset over two years ago, we have strived to foster a positive relationship with the city of Texarkana. The city has been open and helpful in bringing this new business and patient access to the residents of Texarkana.

TG: Do you have any concerns about being so close to other states' borders?

BM: As a licensed dispensary in the state of Arkansas, Bloom Medicinals is authorized to sell medical marijuana to qualified patients and caregivers in the state. Bloom Medicinals is not permitted to distribute any other medicine or drugs besides medical marijuana. Patients and caregivers must be qualified through the Arkansas medical marijuana program in order to receive authorization to purchase medical marijuana from Bloom Medicinals. Bloom Medicinals operates in compliance with state and local laws and regulations.

ONLINE

Bloom Medicinals: bloommedicinals.com

Bloom Medicinals Texarkana: bloomarkansas.com

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