The hopes of tiny Cotton Plant to be revitalized by a medical marijuana cultivation facility is the subject of a feature article in today’s New York Times.
It’s a comprehensive look at the struggling Delta town, touching everything from its pile of rotting tires to its fame as the home of R&B artist Sister Rosetta Tharp. The Bold Team LLC investment group that finished in the top five for cultivation permits wasn’t quoted, but the Times reporter got a thorough tour from Mayor Willard Ryland.
When the state held its referendum on legalizing medical marijuana in 2016, Mr. Ryland remembers, he wavered on how to vote.
“I had a little bit of a moral concern,” he said, recalling “the hippie period, when that’s what they did — just kind of stoned out of their heads with this product.”
But he saw that other states had approved it for medical purposes, and voted yes. The Bold Team people came calling a few months later — Mr. Ryland said one person involved with the company had a grandfather from Cotton Plant — and in July 2017 they leased from the city a weedy 8.5-acre lot behind the tire mountain for $1,500 a month.
“I look at this no different than if Bayer aspirin were coming to Cotton Plant,” he said.
Ryland said he understands the facility might hire 25 people. The company has pledged 1 percent of gross sales to the town budget.
The article notes that award of permits is tied up in court and that, in turn, has slowed the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission from moving ahead with the scoring process on grading dispensary permit applications.
The Times’ Jacob Rosenberg visited Cotton Plant earlier and talked with Mayor Ryland about the town’s high hopes.